- Choose toys and activities a child likes.
- Use toys or objects the child enjoys to increase the likelihood that they will pay attention.
- Read the child’s cues to determine when or if the attention is waning and provide them with options of other preferred items.
- It is okay to have them complete “one more turn” before having them clean up.
- Create a regular clean up routine after play time. Create or use a fun clean up song!
- Allow a child to take the lead in choosing toys- but this doesn’t mean you need to give them free rein all the time!
- Offer acceptable choices- this is a happy medium between letting the child do what they want all the time and the adult determining what the child plays.
- By providing choices, it gives an opportunity for the child to respond and communicate (and they feel like they are in control!).
- If possible, choose activities that the child is able to move and does not have to sit still or at a table the whole time moving helps the child to be more attentive or focused!
- Imitate a child’s actions and use specific labels to address what the child is doing or attending to at the moment.
- Over time, it is hoped that the child enjoys the repetition of the words and actions, then will begin to repeat an action he sees you complete (i.e. “Jump, Jump!” “You are jumping!)- Make sure you are face-to-face with the child, so that they know that you are talking about exactly what they are doing.
- Simply state an object or an event name during the child’s play (i.e. “Ball” or “You found a ball”).
- Try to stay away from talking too much or narrating too much information (i.e. It looks like you found something. What are you going to do with it? Are you going to bounce or throw it?) Depending on the child’s age, this kind of narration is likely above the language-level for the child.
- Try to avoid asking the child questions!
- Use prompts to elicit attention with verbal visual cues (i.e. Look!)
- Point to where you want the child to attend or focus.
- Gaining the child’s attention is the first thing that needs to occur before they are expected to learn anything.
- Reinforce attention either naturally or artificially.
- Pick reinforcements that are motivating for your child!
- Reinforcing a child’s communicative attempts may include allowing them to play with a toy or finish eating a snack that he/she requested.
- Depending on the child, stickers or suckers may be just the perfect reinforcement as well!
Mize, L. (2011). Teach Me To Talk! Shelbyville, KY: Teachmetotalk.com
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!