Home is a wonderful place for your kiddo to increase language. It is a world they interact with every single day and in any child’s routine we can provide something called a language opportunity or an opportunity to communicate. These opportunities are any instances when a child is motivated to communicate throughout their day. This can look like something as simple as requesting food because they are hungry or commenting on the firetruck they see out the car window. Here are a few more ways you can help increase and maximize opportunities to communicate at home:
- CHOICES! Choices are a simple way to provide an opportunity. Instead of asking a yes/no question your kiddo can nod their head to answer you can hold two objects, toys or food (parents’ choice), and ask ‘car or ball?’ or ‘fruit or cookie?’
- HOLD ON! If you are playing with toys or having a snack, hold on to most of whichever item you choose. With limited access to a toy or a snack your child will need to gesture or use language to request more access to these items-and that’s a language opportunity!
- PLAY DUMB! Pretending you don’t know if your sock goes on your nose or on your foot is a fun and silly way to create a language opportunity. You can play dumb in just about any activity during your daily routine. You can ask your child, “Where does my sock go? On my nose?” Pause for a bit and let your child process then communicate with you about where that sock actually goes!
- PAUSE! Pausing is a great way to provide opportunities to communicate for your child. You can do this by singing your child’s favorite song. If they love Old MacDonald you can sing, “And on that farm he had a _________”, a pause indicates an opportunity for your child to fill in that blank.
- HELP! If you use any kind of storage for your child’s toys, try putting toys in a box with a lid that can be tough to open. When your child wants to play with the item in the box, they will try their best to open it, but might need help-BOOM! Language opportunity! Your kiddo has to communicate with you and ask or gesture for help to get that toy inside the box.
Creating opportunities to communicate is so important for your child. Most importantly it gives your child a reason to communicate. It is also a great way to practice their communication skills with as many opportunities as possible. At home practice can go a long way! If you are having trouble maximizing opportunities start by focusing on your child’s favorite items that are highly motivating and incorporate them during mealtime, bath time, bed time, really any time!
With warmth and gratitude,
The Fox Team