The power of play!
When a child isn’t talking yet or doesn’t respond to you, play may seem difficult. A child playing quietly and independently may seem like a wonderful thing, but that won’t encourage them to learn language. They need YOU to model and teach them language and that is easily done through play.
- Children learn best from conversations in a natural environment with the people they trust most.
- Parents have many more opportunities to interact with their children in meaningful ways than a therapist does.
- A parent knows their child best and are his/her first teacher.
- Playing with a parent is very motivating and fun for a child!
Play is an integral part of a child’s development as it affects all areas of growth including, but not limited to, social skills, communication development, cognition, problem solving and reasoning skills, and imaginative thinking. Teaching parents to play and at the same time target speech and language skills is something I have put into practice for years.
Research shows that a child’s communication improves when parents:
- Interact more with their child
- Respond to their child’s attempts to communicate
- Comment and describe (talk about what the child is focused on or interested in, using simplified phrases)
- Emphasize important words in a sentence (e.g. “you’re eating a BANANA!”)
- Expand on what the child has said (e.g. Child says, “Key”. Parent says, “Yes , that’s the key for the car.”