Let’s face it, is really easy when you have a child that is a late-talker or is language delayed to instinctively know what they want even when they can’t tell you. Because we become so good at anticipating our littles one’s needs unfortunately, they don’t always have a reason to talk. Even if they eventually do acquire a few words, or can imitate words they hear modeled to them, children often will not use those words unless they have a reason to do so.
Therefore, sometimes we have to create that reason, and we can do that by creating communication temptations. Communication temptations are things that you do to structure the environment in such a way that your child has to communicate with you.
Here are my top 5 favorite ways to create communication temptations:
1. Put items in clear, hard to open containers. Because the container is clear, it allows your child to see what is inside and helps to create motivation towards wanting to open the container. However, since it is hard to open, your child will need to somehow communicate with you that they want to “open” the container.
2. Give only a little bit. This is a great strategy to use at snack time or when playing with toys that have a lot of pieces. For example, let’s say you are giving your child some Goldfish crackers. Instead of opening the bag and handing it to your child, only give them a few. This will create a natural tendency for your child to request for “more”. Or, if you are playing with a puzzle, you can be the keeper of the pieces, giving your child one at a time again creating a reason for them to request for more pieces.
3. Play with hard to operate toys. Toys such as bubbles, balloons or wind-up toys can be difficult for children to play with by themselves. This is great as it creates an opportunity for you to blow bubbles and wait, or blow up a balloon and instead of tying it, letting the balloon fly around the room, or wind up a wind-up toy and wait for your child to let you know they want you to do it “again”.
4. Leave things out. What I mean for example, is don’t give your child everything they need to accomplish a task. For example, when giving your child applesauce, don’t give them the spoon. This creates a natural opportunity for your child to request or let you know that something is missing.
5. Keep things visible, but out of reach. Instead allowing your child free access to their favorite items, consider placing those items up on shelves. This will allow your child to see the things they love, but now they also have to ask for them.
Communication temptations take some practice but can be a wonderful tool to encourage more communication from your child. The key here is to catch yourself anticipating their needs and think about how you can instead create a reason for your child to communicate.
I hope this has been helpful! Be sure to leave a comment letting me know if this strategy has worked for you, or if you have any questions.