You know what your little one wants.  Everyone knows it.  It’s obvious she’s pointing to something or reaching for something or staring at something.  However, she hasn’t started talking yet or, at least, she doesn’t yet know THAT word.  What do you do to help HER learn to tell YOU what she wants?

Let’s just use the photo above for our example.  She wants to reach that door handle.  She can’t.  She needs our help.  Here are some choices:

  • Open it for her.
  • Respond: “Do you want me to open it?  Say ‘open’.”
  • Kneel next to her and pretend you can’t reach either then grunt “uh, it’s too high”.  Grunt some more while pretending to reach. 
  • Stand next to her and knock.  “Knock knock”.
  • Get down to eye level and ask “open?”  Wait for eye contact, a head nod, a smile, or some indication that means yes, then point to your mouth and say “OOOOpen”.
  • Approach her and ask “do you want to close it or OPEN it?”

Any of these responses could get the job done, but depending on your child’s abilities, you may want to try a variety of these to see which option gets the better communication result.  Maybe you want to focus on social interaction, maybe answering yes/no questions is the target, maybe the goal is imitating sounds (“knock”), or maybe the goal is attempting a new word.

The key to Magical Moments, is that you have to capitalize on that sweet spot between knowing what the request is and BEFORE your toddler starts to get upset or frustrated.  If you find the magical moment and use the strategy the best fits your child’s abilities, you are much more likely to see results.

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