January’s theme: Follow your child’s lead

Tips to prepare your child for school. Brought to you by Newcastle Speech Pathology. We understand.
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Week 1:
Spend some time watching your child play. What is he interested in, what has caught her attention? Get down on their level and get involved in the game. You can try some ‘creative interruption’ like knocking over the blocks or using a car to cause a crash with the other cars. Let your child direct the play. Help him to come up with some creative solutions…e.g What would happen if…? How can we fix…? What is the (toy) going to do next? Above all, make sure you laugh and have fun together.

Week 2:
When your child is getting dressed, give him choices of what he would like to wear. Make sure that the options are two that you are equally happy with. E.g. “Do you want to wear the red t shirt or the blue t shirt?” Show lots of enthusiasm and comment on her choice…e.g. I like this picture on the blue t shirt. Why do you like the blue t shirt? Do you know the names of all the parts of the shirt? Can you find the cuffs / collar / buttons / sleeves / pockets / zip etc? Your child will feel empowered by making a choice, and will have the opportunity for conversation in a natural teaching moment. Enjoy talking and learning together.

Week 3:
Have fun reading a book together. Let your child choose the book and “read” it at his own pace. Spend more time on the pages that she is interested in. Wait for your child to make a comment about the picture or story. When she does comment, react with lots of enthusiasm and interest. Add your own observations about what you can see happening in the pictures. Above all, enjoy the time to cuddle or sit close with your child, no matter how short it may be.

Week 4:
Get out and about together. A trip to the park or even the shops is a great opportunity to spend time talking. Follow your child’s lead and comment on what he is interested in. Ask her some open questions to keep the conversation going such as “What do you think… How do you know… Can you remember when…. What will happen if…?” E.g. What’s going to happen if we let go of the trolley? What could we do if the ladder to the slide was missing? Do you think we should buy the oranges or the mandarins? Why? Can you remember when we came to this park last time? What was the best thing we saw or did? Open questions keep conversations going and help your child develop their thinking and memory. Enjoy the time together and have fun communicating!

Written by Alison
Speech Pathologist
Newcastle Speech Pathology