Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 8 Choices

Today we are going to talk about a very easy hint that we can use to get those word/signs popping. It is the idea of giving choices. When we are focusing on helping our child pop some words we need to find the easiest way for them to be successful. So giving the child a choice is a great way to narrow down all those millions of words out there that could be a possible response.

When we give a child a choice we are giving them two words to pick from which improves the possibility that they will be able to say one. Let's look at this in detail. Your child brings you their cup and hands it to you. Now, you could easily assume that they want more juice in that cup and fill it. But, instead I want you to walk to the refrigerator with the cup and your child and bring out two possible choices for your child. You could use something like "do you want milk or juice?" and at the same time show the child each of the containers.

Now what might the child's response be? The child might touch the container that they want. The child might say "doo" for "juice" or "mik" for "milk". Or they might even say the word. They took their turn, what do we do next?

If the child touches a container, let's say it was the juice, we could say "juice", you want more juice, thanks for telling me." "Mmmm, juice, num, num". This could be added while you are actually filling the cup. Honestly you could respond just the same if the child gave you the word approximation or the actual word.

The important thing is to validate their choice, which is also their turn, and then you take your turn which might just get another turn out of your child. Especially if you make that "num, num" comment sound a bit exaggerated and fun.

Let's look at another example that will help you child learn how to make a choice as well as maybe popping a word/sign. We will use the same example, your child brings you their cup and you know that they want more juice. So you and your child go together to the refrigerator, you take out the juice and maybe pick up an object that is not a drink, like a spoon. You ask your child, "do you want juice or a spoon?" and once again follow what your child gives you. I know that this sounds a bit odd because of course your child wants the drink, but this will give your child a good chance to make the correct response.

What would you do if your child picks the spoon in this example? I bet your first thought is to say "no, you want juice". But then you might be missing a learning moment. If your child picks the spoon, give them the spoon, with a smile on your face and say, "oh you wanted the spoon" and then maybe repeat the word "spoon" as you hand it to them.

You will get one of two responses. The child will either give it back to you, or throw it, and protest in some manner and then you can say "no spoon" and take it back and then show them the juice and say "juice?" with a question in your voice. I bet that you will get a smile from your child or maybe try for a head nod indicating "yes".

Now the other response is that they take the spoon and are just fine. I might take that moment to grab a spoon too and pretend to be eating with lots of "num num" comments. And then see what your child does. At this point you aren't sure if they wanted the juice or not or if they understand the concept of making a choice, but it still can end up to be a turn and a chance to get some words popping.

If you truly don't think your child understands the concept of making a choice, then I would make it very easy for your child to get their juice. I would only bring out the juice from the refrigerator and just say "juice, you want juice" and then pour juice in the cup maybe adding your "num num". And then wait and see what your child does.

What I am trying to show you is that anything can be made into an opportunity to expand your child's language skills. And by giving choices you are expanding the words that your child says as well as the words that your child understands.

I hope that you will try this during the coming week and see how it goes. Remember, this shouldn't be taking up much time, hopefully these hints are things that you can do during your normal daily routine.

Have a great week.


  1. HAHAHA. This one made me laugh. I have given "C" the choice of broccoli or juice. I also added in my request for him to get his cup for me. Now when he wants a drink he will put it on the counter next to the fridge. I haven't figured out his word for juice yet but I plan on working on that. I am also going to try using pictures on the front of the fridge of his 3 top beverage choices-juice, milk, water and see if I can get him to use one of those if not a word to request.

  2. I totally forgot that I was going to provide pictures for you...I will help you with this goal :)