Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 25 Toys to Help Your Child Communicate

HA!! The title to this post is a joke, there are no specific toys that will help your child talk. Many, many parents have asked me this question, especially around Christmas and birthday time, so I thought we will chat about toys today.

It seems that the family of a child with a language delay love to buy toys that "talk". Books that you push a button and it "talks"; "educational DVD's"; "educational" programs for your computer; dolls that talk; kitchen sets that talk.

Here is my secret, your child will develop communication with any toy that they love and especially if it's a toy that involves another person they love being with. So, it can be an empty box, an empty paper towel tube that you roll small cars through, a doll, a stuffed animal, a piece of string, ANYTHING can be a toy and can help your child communicate.

Here is my best example of this. I was meeting a child for the first time and they were a bit shy and mom and dad were worried that I wouldn't get anything out of the child. Here is what caught the child's interest....a piece of kleenex :) I threw the Kleenex up in the air and said "up"; I ripped off some small pieces of the kleenex and the child watched me blow them off the open palm of my hand, we made small balls from the kleenex and put them in a truck and drove them around; oh, and before we began ripping it up we were playing peek a boo with it. It wasn't the kleenex that kept the child engaged, it was the novel lady that used the fun voice and did all these crazy things with the kleenex and then invited the child to join in.

Now, I'm all for having toys in the house and buying toys and getting toys from grandparents. But I would suggest you stop worrying about the educational value behind a toy or if a toy will help your child talk. Instead I would look at a toy for all the joy that it will bring your child and your family.

One more thing about the "talking" and singing toys out there. If you listen, they are not modelling easy to repeat phrases for your child; they usually talk too fast; they can become annoying; and the batteries get expensive. If you need an electronic toy, buy them an electric toothbrush, it will stimulate their oral area, keep their teeth clean, help them explore new tastes and improve their communication :)

Have a great week!!

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