Teaching your Child to Use Their Words

Many children know how to get the cooperation of others by asking for what they want or need. This means that they don’t throw tantrums, say no words at all, or grizzle in hope that their parents guess whats on their minds. When children are young, we as adults can help young children find the words they need to express themselves; becoming experts at interpreting what toddlers say; repeating the words they are saying back to them. While we need to be patient with toddlers, we also need to give older children the opportunity and encouragement to use their words and ask for what they want. Sometimes we need to ignore shrugs, tantrums and the silent treatment and show them that we expect them to articulate their wishes. This is a basic human skill and needs to be mastered for life 🙂

Lets put it into practice.

  1. Help children find the words they need by using prompts such as ’Take a minute and think about what it is that you want me to do’ ‘What would you like me to do?’
  2. Encourage children to ask for what they want in the following way – Make eye contact, speak clearly to the person, use a normal voice, as opposed to a whiny or loud voice, accept that the answer they receive may not always be the one they want, and praise their efforts to use their words.

Sharon Hales

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