If you are a parent who has tried implementing some of the language strategies your speech therapist has taught you with your little one- only to end in your child running off or having a meltdown- this blog is for you! Often the reason for these meltdowns is due to pressure. Not only the pressure put on your child but also the pressure you put on yourself. Below are three strategies for ways to encourage language development while avoiding a meltdown.
- Finding your child’s limit- Knowing how much you can push a child can be tricky. We want to encourage and challenge our little ones, but not to the point that we see a meltdown. Try starting with something that is easy for them and make slow, gradual changes to increase the difficulty. The moment you notice your child is at their limit pull back. It’s important to keep in mind that your child’s limit can change daily or even by activity and we may need to adjust accordingly.
- Play- The best way to encourage language development in our little ones is to play! Rather than planning a specific activity, think about what toys or activities your child loves and how you can incorporate language into that. If it something that they like then they will be more interested and engaged and you will be more likely to avoid a meltdown. If your child loves trucks- play with trucks. You can practice the sounds that they make or talk about their size and color. If you’re having fun then your child will too!
- Get moving- Sitting for extended periods of time can be hard for toddlers., so incorporate movement into your activities. This is a great way to engage your child and keep their attention while avoiding a tantrum. If you’re doing a puzzle you can put the pieces on the other side of the room so your child has to run to go get each piece or you could make an obstacle course out of pillows and blankets and work on following directions.
By taking the pressure off talking you will see your child become more engaged and eager to participate. I hope these strategies are helpful and as always if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!
Claire Kakenmaster, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist