Speech & Language in the Aftermath of Christmas
Updated: Mar 15, 2018
Are you climbing over a mountain of toys in your living room after
Christmas?! Thinking they will soon be forgotten because, lets face it,
sometimes there is more excitement involved in unwrapping the toy.....
What to do with all the toys!...
Well, if you have a toddler and a bunch of new toddler toys there are a
few things you can do to keep your child interested and engaged in their play as well as develop their language skills.
Firstly, collect the toys they are currently not playing with and pop them away in a container out of reach to put on rotation. Less choice helps reduce flitting between toys (and less mess!!). Leave out 2-3 in an accessible place for them to play with. Once the current toys lose their novelty rotate with the new ones in the cupboard! This also creates a great communication opportunity for your child to ask for the toys that are put away if they want them. You can give them a choice if they are pointing or indicating they want something but are unsure of the name of the item (e.g. do you want the balls or the puzzle?).
Sit with your child at their level on the floor and actively watch what they are doing with the toy. Try not to jump in too soon and lead their play. Allow them to bring you into their play. They might show you something, comment or look at you. Respond by naming what they show you, copying what they say and adding another word (e.g. doll, big doll!), or commenting on what they are doing (e.g. car, drive the car, vroom!).
If your child looks as though they don't know what to do with the toy place your hands over theirs and show them what they could do (e.g. help them place a shape in the right shape hole, push the button to make the ball pop). Then, take your hands away and allow them to have a go on their own. You can also add a word or words for the action they are doing or (e.g. ’’push” ”pop” “put the puzzle in”). Helping is great but be sure to pull back bit by bit so they learn to try and develop new skills independently.
Taking turns in play is a great way to model to your child what they could do with a toy. Take a turn (say mummy/daddy’s turn) and then pass it back to them and name their turn. If your child is just learning to share be sure to take a very quick turn! You can take longer turns once they begin to learn what turn- taking is all about. Turn taking is also a very important conversational skill, one that is taught early in speech therapy. Teaching it through play is a great way to prepare your child for talking!
Try these tips, and your child will be engaged with their new toys and you in no time!
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SPOT Paediatrics, Director and Speech Pathologist