Is this you? You’ve been reading up on milestones and you’re just not sure if your child is where they need to be? You’re not sure what you should be doing to help your child?
First of all, that is 100% ok. Second, I am going to talk about 3 techniques that you can use with your child to encourage communication and which help give you more insight into their abilities.
There are many, what we call, “language stimulation techniques”. It’s a mouthful, however broken down simply, there are many specific things that you can do to help stimulate your child to understand and talk.
Here are just 3 (of many!):
- Getting Down: physically move to your child’s level. This means that your faces are in the same space or yours can even be a bit lower, such as
- Child sits on a chair, parent sits on the floor
- Child sits on the floor, parent lies on stomach next to child
This encourages eye contact and joint attention- the foundations of good communication and learning.
- Withholding and Waiting: provide a reason for your child to communicate. As parents, you know their needs, however wait and don’t jump in too quickly.
- Open a jar of bubbles, then close the jar tightly. Hand the closed jar to the child.
- Place a desired food or toy in a clear container that the child can not open. Put the container in front of the child and wait.
This is not meant to create a negative situation or make your child frustrated, but just a small opportunity to express what they need. You can gently encourage your child to “use their words” to ask. Depending on what level your child is at with talking, will determine what you expect from them. A gesture might be an excellent achievement for them; or saying “help” or “I need help”, may be your goal.
- Choice Questions: Even though you know exactly what your child wants, give them a choice with two words. The child then has to respond with one of the two words to indicate to the adult what they want.
These 3 ideas sound very simple, but are excellent ways to engage your child and provide them with opportunities to learn and talk. We also use these in our therapy sessions too!
If you try these and your child is having any difficulties looking at you, expressing for help, answering your questions, saying one word etc- then I would recommend that you give a speech therapist a call to have a chat about your little one.
Keep doing these three things though, don’t give up! All children are unique, but all can learn!