Children learn by repetition and they enjoy it – repeat games and activities over and over and notice how the child gradually learns more about communication. Use people games such as ‘this little piggy’ and ‘round and round the garden’.
Routines are things that happen over and over. They are a crucial part of a child’s development. Routines help the child to predict what is about to happen. Most families have routines for mealtimes, bath time and bedtime. Some examples include:
- Bath time routine – undress the same way, turn the water on, play with the same toys, sing same songs, dry with towel, put pyjama’s on. In this routine the events happen in the same order every time.
- Every time you go out, show your child your keys, this will help them learn what comes next in the routine – going in the car.
Once you have decided to encourage a skill in your child using a particular idea, be consistent. That is, keep doing it the same way and encourage other people to do it the same way too. You may need to chat to other significant people in your child’s life to ensure you are all working on the same goal in the same way. The more consistent you are the more likely your child is to achieve the skill.
Children learn by watching and imitating – to teach a child how to do something, you need to show them examples. Gradually giving the child less help, so they can learn to do it themselves. More information on this topic can be obtained from the Novita website on the Augmentative and Alternative Communication page.
Young children begin by understanding single, important words – do not use long sentences to talk about things with young children – use single words and short phrases. For example, say ‘sock on’ when putting on a child’s sock instead of ‘now I’m going to put this sock on your foot’.
Music and Singing
Include music and singing into the child’s day – some singing games for babies and young children include:
- This is the way we….
- Old MacDonald
- Twinkle Twinkle
- Hello songs
- 3 Little Ducks