Working as a Team to Help Your Child Talk
Today I wanted to work on counting with my three year old, Emily. When I got out Teddy Bears’ Counting Book, my five and six year old boys wanted to read with us. What often happens in situations like these, is the older ones take over and the younger one doesn’t have a chance to try. So, today I decided to try something new. Instead of telling my boys to find something else to do, I decided to use the same book to teach three different things. Emily is working on counting, so on each page she counted the teddy bears. Jesse (5) is beginning to read, so he read the words that I pointed to. I thought fractions would be a good challenge for Caleb (6), so on each page, I would ask him questions about fractions. For example, “What fraction of the bears are sleeping?” I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. They had fun and each had my focused attention.
If you have a child who is a late talker, it is important to involve the whole family in helping your child learn to talk. For example, if you are introducing sign language with your child, teach your spouse and your other child(ren) the signs as well. I think there are many advantages to involving the whole family. One advantage is the consistency that occurs. If everyone is on the same page, your child will not get confused with conflicting methods. Also, many times older siblings want to help. If your other children notice that you’re focusing a lot of attention on helping their brother or sister to talk, they’ll want to be a a part of it. It makes them feel important and special to be able to help too. Another advantage to involving the whole family, is that it makes teaching your toddler to talk, a natural part of your routine. Then, teaching your toddler to talk isn’t a special project or something that you only do 15 minutes a day. It’s a part of snack time. It’s a part of playtime. You and your family do it while going for a walk or eating a meal together.
Helping your toddler to talk isn’t just your job. It’s something your whole family can be a part of!