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Communication temptations are tasks that encourage children to communicate their needs by telling you what they want. Rather than always responding to questions or requests to talk, communication temptations focus on the child being the initiator of communication. This is important, as we want to create as much spontaneous and independent language as possible. Obviously, we want our children to communicate and talk to us, sometimes this means that we unintentionally use a lot of questions to get children to talk, for example, “What’s that? What do you want? What are you watching on the iPad? What colour are the Lego Blocks? What are you making with them? How many blocks do you have?”. We may also tell the kids to talk, for example “Say ‘drink’, Say ‘How are you?”.
For children who have delayed language skills, answering questions can be difficult. The child may not understand the question, or may not have the language to respond, this makes language effortful and not very motivating to engage with.
Understanding the benefits of talking is key to encouraging language. This creates motivation to communicate. However, for some kids, understanding the power of language can be prevented by adults thinking too much for them by anticipating their every need. For example, Joe is thirsty and wants a drink of milk from the fridge. Joe starts to cry. To stop Joe from crying his parents present him with lots of different things to try and gauge what he wants. He is given toys, different food and is still crying. He is then given a drink, he stops crying. Here an opportunity has been missed. Rather than jumping to Joe and giving him lots of choice, let’s walk around the house with him, see what he orientates towards. In the kitchen, he begins to walk to the fridge and at the fridge, we encourage Joe to say open. We offer him a choice between milk and an apple. He points to milk. We give him the language “milk”. We give Joe the carton of milk and wait for Joe to say “cup”. We pour a small amount of milk and wait for Joe to say “more”. Here we have created multiple opportunities for language.
For older children or children with more language communication temptations can be used to give your child practice with new vocabulary, increasing sentence length, or communicating for different reasons. Here we pause in situations for longer, waiting for more language.
When setting up communication temptations, ensure you are at eye level with your child and facing them. We need to start by creating lots of opportunities for communication every day.
The easiest way to tempt a child to communicate is to wait because waiting tempts your child to make something happen. What are we waiting for? Two things: eye contact and communication.Then we can respond.This is a simple strategy to add into any of your daily routines and below are just a few examples of how it could possibly be done.
There are so many ways we can encourage language development and we promote a collaborative approach whereby we work closely with parents to ensure they are confident in implementing these across their daily routine.
f you would like any more strategies or information on this, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 085 2737 466 or by clicking the button below and sending us a message through our contact form.