Everyone like short lists. Here are 5 quick tricks to improve your child's communication right now.
1) Be quiet!
As humans, we want to fill in silence. As a result, adults often talk over our children or talk too much. With repeated questions and long sentences, it's hard for our children to process everything and respond. Slow down and enjoy the silence for a few extra moments. This will give your child the time to process and feel the urge to fill in that silence.
2) Hide favorite toys or snacks.
This goes back to our discussion on communication temptations. By moving favorite items up higher or creating a treasure hunt, now your children will be challenged to find them and figure out how to get them.
3) Sing while you work.
Our brains seek rhythm and patterns for learning. What is music? Rhythm and patterns, plus language on top! Next time you are doing an errand, make it a musical for your child. Something as simple as washing hands can made into a song:
"This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands, with soap and water!"
Now your child is stringing together a full sentence while learning how to sequence the task of washing their hands.
4) Tickle them!
Tickle games are playful activities our bodies crave. Just like snuggles, tickles help us understand our body and proprioception. We cannot tickle ourselves, so it requires an engaged partner and teaches joint attention.
5) Rearrange their room or playroom.
This may take some skill. We've all been caught up in the Marie Kondo whirlwind, and I'm definitely not suggesting you go that far, but rearranging a few bigger items will spark curiosity similar to hiding a favorite toy. You could get your child to help you which will give their big muscle groups some excellent exercise along. Maybe even let your child tell you where to put things with a word or gesture. Make exaggerated sounds and words as you "puuuush!" heavy things. Pretend to fall over, see if your child will answer you call for "help! help!"
As always, have fun and keep playing! Let me know how you're playing with your child's language today.