How to Get the Most from My Toddler Talks!
How to Get the Most from My Toddler Talks!
If you’ve purchased my book (thank you), get the most out of it by following along and implementing some of these important points!
Incorporate a set playtime into the child’s daily routine.
Select a time when the child is well rested, fed, changed, and available for learning. This should also be an appropriate time for the adult; refrain from scheduling this time when one might be distracted by morning news shows, afternoon talk shows, evening sitcoms, or miscellaneous errands and chores. A thirty- to forty-five-minute period dedicated to playtime should suffice, depending on your schedule. If you have more time and your toddler wants to play longer, then by all means, continue to play! If you only have 15 to 20 minutes, that’s fine too. Just make sure to pick a time and go with it. Once a time has been selected, keep to this schedule, as routines are important to a child’s well-being. If you need help creating a schedule to organize your toddler’s daily routine, I included a section in My Toddler Talks dedicated to helping you develop routines for your toddler.
Follow the toddler’s lead during play.
Although My Toddler Talks provides fun activities with play routines included, it’s important to follow your child’s lead and allow him to make choices. The main goal should not be to complete an activity systematically, but rather to take turns and be responsive to his actions, sounds or words. Think of your toddler as a communicative partner. If you find that you are doing all the talking, then something is amiss. Focus on sharing and balancing the communication exchange. Do not become too focused on following every step in the routine. These directions are meant to be a helpful guide. Be flexible and allow the child to contribute and initiate.
Modify the play routines as needed.
You know your child best. I may be the expert when it comes to speech and language, but parents are the experts when it comes to their children. For this reason, my play routines can be easily adjusted to make them motivating for your toddler. If one routine seems too basic or too challenging, simplify a step, give more or less support, or skip it entirely and revisit that routine later. My play routines are not meant to be exhaustive, nor are they meant to be strictly interpreted. I only stress that you implement play routines that are somewhat repetitive and predictable. Following my instructions may make this goal easier to achieve. It will also allow the child to learn a certain concept and know what to expect.
Start and end with something easy, but challenge him a little in the middle.
Ohhhh, this is so important! Routines follow a sequence (I’ve mentioned this before). My play routines have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I like to start with something that is easy or very motivating for the child. Then, as time progresses (by the middle of the session), I challenge him with something new or different. As the session ends, I finish on a positive note by having the child participate in something that he is good at and has been successful doing. Be mindful to end a play routine BEFORE you sense that the child is losing interest. I also like to sing songs while cleaning up to make this a more enjoyable process. In my experience, most toddlers enjoy cleaning up and putting things away because they like to help and model adults! I share three of my favorite clean up songs in My Toddler Talks! But, you have to purchase my book to find them out!
Keep it simple and short.
For many activities, I’ve included sounds, words, or phrases to elicit speech and language from the child. Gauge what you think he can imitate or understand. Check out my post, When Will My Toddler Start Talking?, to learn a little bit about language development. For the child who is nonverbal or not yet talking, make sounds such as moo for a cow, choo choo for a train, or woof woof for a dog. For the child who is starting to imitate, say single words or very short and concrete phrases. If the child is only imitating one word when you say two or three, do not use five- or six-word sentences with the expectation that the child will repeat a targeted word; he will have already forgotten what you said!, In My Toddler Talks, I provide guidance in selecting potential target words. If you find that the child is not imitating anything you are saying or doing, then you must do some troubleshooting. I also include Troubleshooting Techniques, in My Toddler Talks, to assist you in getting your toddler to imitate you.
Set goals for your session.
I LOVE having goals and targets to keep me focused. Set goals for yourself and eventually, try devising some for your child.
Some sample goals for yourself can be:
“I will not try to overly control my child’s play, instead I will follow his lead and allow him to make choices.”
"I will not correct my child’s speech, instead I will provide praise for his attempts and causally repeat the target."
Some sample goals for your child….are included in My Toddler Talks! I have an entire section devoted just to goals!
Chart your progress.
How can you know that you’re making progress with your toddler’s language? Establish a baseline by asking yourself, “What is my toddler doing now?” Then select goals, and track the specific changes or improvements related to your efforts. Taking these steps will help you stay motivated and know whether your efforts are effective. Once again, I have included a very helpful Progress Chart in My Toddler Talks to help you in this area.
Enjoy this special time with your child. Play allows for some quality bonding time that your child desperately needs and wants.
When toddlers are having fun, they want to learn.
Remember - praise the process, not just the result.
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