Get your child to speak by doing THIS

Get your child to speak by doing THIS
Photo courtesy of www.littlechatterboxtherapy.com.

Get your child to speak by doing THIS. Are you ready?

Wait for it...wait for it...

Yup, that's it: WAIT FOR IT. Er...rather, wait for him/her.

Huh? I have been waiting. That's why I'm searching for answers on Google. And you tell me to just WAIT?!

I don't mean just wait until your kid is ready. What I mean is, while having a conversation with him, WAIT for the answer.

In my teacher education courses, I was taught the Rule of 7. This can be interpreted two ways:

  1. After posing a question, call on a student for the answer only after you see at least seven students with their hands raised.
  2. After posing a question, count to seven seconds in your head before calling on someone.

How does this translate to child rearing? Well, the first one doesn't. Unless you're Octamom.

As for the second Rule of 7, this absolutely translates. Have you ever waited seven seconds after asking your child *one single question? If you're like me, then you have not.

It's all well and good to focus on input, input, input. But we must also allow for adequate wait time if we want the output.

Seven seconds is longer than you think. I urge you to try it:

One one thousand, two Mississippi, three rutabaga, four one thousand, five Mississippi, six rutabaga, seven one thousand.

Also, consider the type of questions that you ask:

  • "Yes" and "no" are the simplest to answer, but don't always lead to further conversation.
  • "Or" can sometimes be tough. Our son is two and can still struggle with "or."
  • Open ended questions are great for building confidence. Questions like "What's that?" don't always have a right or wrong answer.

Example: Your child is playing with a car.

You: What's that?

Child: Bue. (Blue)

You: That's right! That is a blue car. Do you see any other colors?

*One single question. Katie at Playing with Words 365 illustrates what rapid fire questioning looks like. We've all done it. After asking a question and getting no response, we move on to another one that might be easier, which makes us think of a more age appropriate question, which leads us to even better question...you get the picture.

So, you've asked Junior a question, and he responds with something that sounds like a word. Success! Resist the urge to barge in and throw another one in his face right away.

Enter Wait Time 2: "...time period after the student's initial response and before the teacher's reaction."

This is important because your child might elaborate on what he's just said:

Child: Bue.

You: (Give praise through non verbal smile.)

Child: Wed! (pointing to the red car)

Of course, talking, reading, singing to your child is wonderful. We good parents do all of these things. Just don't forget to stop, wait, and "listen to what your child is telling you."

Think of it this way: You've already waited 18 months to hear those first words. What's another seven seconds?

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