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Speech Development Blog by Tiffany Bartlett

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Good Eye Contact is Key

Speech Development Tip 1:  Make good eye contact when you are talking to your child. 

How many times have you caught yourself hollering from across the room to get your child's attention?  And how many times have you become frustrated when your child has not responded to you?  I know my children are listening to me when they stop what they're doing and respond.  Yes, children are able to do more than one thing at once, but if you really want them to listen and retain the information, you need to have their full attention. 

So, how do you get their full attention?  Hollering across the room may work sometimes, but there are kinder and more effective ways to get their attention. 

  • The most obvious way, is to walk over to them or tap them on the shoulder.  
  • Make sure you are at your child's level when you talk to them.  If he's sitting on the floor, get down on the floor with him.  If she's laying on the floor, lay beside her.  Get in your child's space!
  • Sometimes you will need to end your toddler's activity, so his or her attention is not divided.  [In the video below of Alex, I moved the blocks out of his reach, so he would ask for more, instead of grabbing for the blocks himself]. 
  • If you are playing with your toddler and want your toddler to focus on what you are saying, you can take the toy you are playing with and move it close to your mouth.  If your child is paying attention to the toy, he will naturally follow his attention to your mouth.  When he is looking at your mouth as you speak, he will not only hear the words, but see how your mouth forms the sounds.
  • You can also use your toy to tap your toddler's nose or shoulder to get full attention.  [In the video below with Alex, I used the marshmallow and tapped his nose and side of his mouth to get his attention].
  • Make it worth your toddler's time to focus on you.  Be expressive, be silly, have fun!  Speech therapy or encouraging your toddler to talk, should never be boring!

*This speech tip is introduced in week 1 of the speech calendar.  For more speech tips and weekly speech activities, subscribe to my speech calendar.

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