As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I provide families with practical tips on how they can bond with their child and create fun opportunities to teach their child new language. I often recommend people games!
People games are play routines that you have created with your child that do not involve any toys.
Keep in mind that your child’s attention span and participation in the game will vary depending on age, mood, and interest in the activity.
For young babies:
- use games that stimulate touch, sight, and hearing
- vary the volume and tone/sounds of your voice
- Look for cues that your baby is enjoying the interaction
If baby is crying, looking away, and/or trying to move away, he is not interested! You can either turn up the fun or try a different activity. If baby smiles, coos, giggles and/or looks at you – keep it going, your baby is having fun!
Tips to create people games and offer opportunities for communication:
The Hanen Centre uses the term R.O.C.K., a research based strategy. These strategies can be helpful for all children learning language.
R – create a Routine and Repeat!
To make your game structured and predictable, you want the steps/actions to be done the same way, in the same order, and you want to repeat the routine many times. Repetition is key!
O – Offer Opportunities.
Eventually, your child will learn the actions, words, and sounds that you have used in the game. At this point, pause and wait- see if he tries to participate with a smile, action, sound, or tries to say a word. Remember to wait, so your child has a chance to process what you are doing, and can coordinate his movements to participate.
C – Cue when needed.
If your child does not fill in the interaction, or only does some of his part- help him! Celebrate once he does (even if you helped). This may help motivate him to participate next time- we all love praise!
K – Keep it fun!
You are the main event! You are what makes the interaction fun, and what your child will be interested in. It’s now more important than ever to be fun and silly in order to catch your child’s attention and to keep the interaction going so that you can model language and create a routine with the game.
Games to try:
- Kisses/Raspberries on various body parts
- Flying baby
- Bouncing on knee
- Up, up, down
ConnectABILITY provides a list of great people games with suggestions on how to get the interaction started.