Parenting Technique 68 – Walking and talking lead to social fun.
One Year to Two
Learning to both walk and talk bring with them many social opportunities. How natural it becomes to take small walks together and begin to enjoy the natural conversation that goes with it. Even one-word communication can accomplish much interaction. From giving your child simple directions to reading and playing together with toys, you will continue to discover more and more opportunities to enjoy with your toddler.
Following Simple Directions
Because your toddler can follow simple instructions, you can initiate all kinds of playful tasks.
Think up simple requests and then have fun giving them one at a time to your toddler. Here are suggested ones many parents enjoy: “Bring me the hat.” “Sit on the chair.” “Put this pencil on the table.” “Brush your hair.” “Take off your shoe.”
While you have probably been reading to your baby as soon as he or she was born, now is a great time to develop more of a sense of the shared time you are spending together. You can do this on three levels—with a short picture book that has small print, with a preschool picture book that has large print, or with a storybook that may be too long to read in one sitting.
Adults are amazing models for children.
Start with basic actions and describe what you are doing. Some suggestions are: “I touch my head. Now you touch your head.” “I clap my hands.” “Now you clap your hands.” “I stand up.” “Now you stand up.” You can also follow this procedure with household tasks. “I sweep the floor.” “Now you sweep the floor.” “I dust the table.” “Now you dust the table.”
A third category is tapping patterns. For this activity it is best to sit across from each other at a table. Tap on the table once. Then ask your toddler to tap once. Next tap twice and have your toddler tap twice. Then tap three times and have your child repeat that. If three times is the hardest, stop with that and continue play with different variations of one, two, and three taps.
If these go well, you can take this activity to the next level, which is tapping to syllables in words. These are examples: “ap-ple tree,” “but-ter-fly.” Have fun making up lots of these. In addition, use your child’s name and the names of others in your family.
August! The Month of Dignity
You two have a world of positive time ahead of you. With dignity and confidence, keep the play going.
Surprise is at the heart of this enjoyable activity.
Have fun hiding different items in different parts of your house. A great starter is to hide a cooking timer in another room. Turn it on so that your toddler can hear the ticking. Tell your toddler to listen for the ticking to be able to find it. Another idea is to number index cards from one to seven and then hide them in another room.
Use your clothes for this activity will increase the fun.
Take out clothing that you do not mind your toddler wearing. Then give short directions like, “Put on the shirt.” “Put on the shorts.” “Put on the socks.” “Zip up the jacket.” Help your child as much or as little as is necessary.
All of Tip 68 has been adapted from the information in Constructive Parenting by Sally Goldberg, pp. 71-73
NOTE: For the next set of tips, I will continue to describe effective ways to foster social development at different ages and stages. This series on social skills will go on all the way up to age five.
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