In January, I wrote a guest post for my colleague Jill of Honest OT in Denver, CO. I shared some quick tips to get you started Playing With Purpose. Today, I am sharing those tips plus a bonus Hanen strategy so you can engage in more purposeful play with your children.

Five Tips to Get You Started Playing With Purpose TODAY:

  1. Allow for face-to-face time with your child.
  2. Provide activities for your child that mimic the activities you’re doing in the house.
  3. Reduce the number of toys your child has access to.
  4. Talk to your child all the time by narrating your day and activities.
  5. Use my favorite Hanen strategy called “Offer a Little Bit…Then Wait.”

*Be sure to click over to the full post for all the details!

This strategy is part of what is referred to as creating an opportunity for your child to lead. The desire to communicate needs to come from within. Try taking the focus off getting your child to talk. When you ask your child to say words or repeat after you, it does not help him/her learn language. It may have the opposite effect since it can take the joy out of communicating.

Instead of asking children to repeat, we can let them lead the communication and then follow their lead. But sometimes we need to encourage or create an opportunity for a child to lead. That is where this Hanen strategy comes into play. I like to use toys with many parts or keep my toys in clear, plastic bins when “offering a little bit and then waiting.” I can repeat this strategy over and over during a single play routine. And we all know that repetition provides multiple opportunities for our children to communicate and for us to reinforce their excellent communication.

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