Parents are intuitive. You know your child’s wants and needs and you readily provide it. However, this can prevent opportunities to practice and expand on communication skills.
It’s important to constantly work on communication skills to ensure your child has the right tools to get their wants and needs met. It’s easier than you think!
Communication strategies to integrate into your everyday routines
• Give your child a few seconds to ask for something instead of readily giving it.
• During routines and play, model language by narrating what your child is doing in short 2 or 3 word phrases instead of asking questions.
• Label items when your child shows it, gives it, or takes it from you.
Hold up 2 choices and label each item. When your child reaches for or looks at an item, label that item again and give them an expectant look. When they say the word or attempt to say it, give them the item while labeling it again but this time, adding “I want” before the word.
Give a smaller portion of snack. This gives them another opportunity to ask for more.
When you enter the dark bathroom, wait before turning on the light. When your child points to the light or makes a vocalization, say, “Turn on light,” and then turn it on for them.
When playing with bath toys, label each item that your child shows you, gives you, or takes from you.
Leave the toothbrush out of reach. When your child looks for it or tries to get it, label the item. When they say the word or attempt to say it, give them the item while labeling it again but this time, adding “I want” before the word.
As you help them with the routine, narrate in short phrases: “Squeeze toothpaste,” “Brush teeth,” “Turn on water,” and “Rinse toothbrush.”