• Francesca Galeota

How To Create Opportunities For Communication

Adults want to make sure that children's wants and needs are met. A lot of the time we know what it is children want or need and therefore children don't have a reason to communicate with us. Here are some ways to make sure that you are creating opportunities for the little ones in your life to communicate.

Offer Choices:

Scenario 1: It's breakfast time and you give your munchkin some toast with jam. They haven't had to ask for anything. Plus, you know that they don't want to eat anything else.

Scenario 2: It's breakfast time and you offer your munchkin either toast or porridge. They either point to or say "toast". They've been given a chance to tell you what they want.

A simple communication change that makes the world of difference and can be implemented anywhere with anything;

-"do you want to play with trains or cars?"

- "do you want raisins or an apple?"

- "do you want to sing twinkle twinkle or incy wincy?"

Do a little bit, then pause:

Don't underestimate the power of pausing when it comes to communicating with your little ones. Children need a bit more time to respond to us. Here are some ways to get those pauses in and create more opportunities for communication:

  • Get some bubble mixture and blow some bubbles, then stop and wait to see if your child will reach to ask for more, say "more bubbles" or even pretend to blow them.

  • Get a wind up toy, wind it up and let it go, grab it before your little one does and then pause and wait to see if they'll ask for more.

  • Sing familiar songs and add in some pauses e.g. in "Old MacDonald" leave pauses for your child to fill in the animal noises.

Put items out of reach but in sight:

Scenario 1: There is a pack of biscuits on the table which your child can easily reach, they take and eat one - no need to ask!

Scenario 2: The biscuits are in a clear container up high on the kitchen counter. Your child needs to come to you, point or say "biscuit". Another chance for them to use their communication.

You can try this with snacks or even toys!

Give the wrong item:

I love this one; give your child the wrong item they need to complete a task. For example:

  • Don't give them a spoon to eat their porridge - they'll look at you confused and then might point, shake their head or ask for a spoon.

  • If they've asked for juice, pour them a glass of water and see if they'll tell you that you're wrong!

  • Give them the wrong puzzle pieces for a puzzle and see if they'll ask you for the right ones.

Do something out of the ordinary:

This strategy is my absolute favourite, its fun, light hearted and makes communication irresistible!

  • When you're getting your little ones dressed, put a sock on their hand and see if they'll tell you how to fix your mistake.

  • Say the wrong words in a familiar song, for example, in Old MacDonald you could try and say that a cow goes "baa" and see if you'll get corrected.

  • When your playing with lego, build a house and say "look I built a car!" and see if you'll get told otherwise!

Have fun creating opportunities for your little cubs to communicate, and remember communication is more that just words, it can be pointing, reaching, talking or even ROARING!

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