Creating Communication Opportunities

Your child learns to understand and use language through listening and interacting with you. You are THE most important ‘toy’ your little one will ever play with. It is important that you create opportunities to interact with your child, especially if they are delayed in their language development.

  • Place a favourite toy just out of his reach and wait until he does something to indicate he wants it. Praise his attempt at communicating, even if he doesn’t use the name for the object. You can then model the name of the object.
  • Instead of giving him a full cup of milk, or all of the pieces of an apple, give a small amount and wait for him to ask for more. Again, if he attempts to say any appropriate word (more/apple/juice/please) you should praise him and model how to correctly say the word he attempted.
  • Choose an activity that he cannot do without you – bubbles, wind up cars/animals, musical toys that you haven’t switched on etc. Wait to see if your little one asks for you to initiate the game.
  • When you are taking part in a familiar routine that can be repeated (such as a tickle game, singing a favourite song, swinging on a park swing) you can pause and wait for your little one to ask to continue.
  • Hide objects in surprising places and let the surprise create an opportunity for them to tell you about it.
  • When little things go wrong during your daily routine, such as spoon falling on the floor or his cup getting spilt, you should wait and see if your child requests for your help or tries to explain what has happened.
There are lots of ways for your child to communicate that do not involve words. I have listed some of these below. Picking up on these attempts at communication and responding quickly will reinforce the idea that communication is useful!
  • Smiling
  • Moving their body (kicking/wriggling)
  • Making sounds
  • Pointing
  • Copying sounds
  • Waving
  • Lifting arms for ‘up’
  • Signing
  • Changing facial expression
  • Changing the direction of their eye gaze
  • Using sound that represent a consistent word or message
  • Reaching

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