When it comes to learning a new skill, practice makes perfect. Including repetitive words and phrases into a child’s daily routine is the quickest way to reinforce new vocabulary and inspire children to begin communicating. Children must be exposed to a new word numerous times before developing appropriate comprehension and use of the word in the correct context.
Incorporate into a Routine:
As adults, we may get bored after the 45th game of Peek-a-boo, but kids never seem to tire of the same games over and over again. Find a set phrase or song to incorporate into a daily activity such as brushing your teeth (e.g. “Brush, brush, brush”) or bedtime (e.g. “Mommy loves Dylan”) and get into the habit of repeating. After it’s a well-established routine, start the phrase and see if your little one is able to finish it for you!
Build an expectation:
Repetitive phrases are found in many children’s books (think: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”) and are incredibly effective tools to teach language. Reading a simple book with a recurrent theme on each page helps children to begin recognizing patterns and build early literacy skills. Don’t be afraid to read the same books over and over again and see how fast a child can learn new words and start using them. With older children, you can sit and watch several episodes of your child’s favorite TV show. Begin discussing what themes are consistent in every episode and what types of things are different to foster early literacy skills.
Once they learn it, switch it up:
After children have mastered a repetitive word, phrase or common theme then it’s a perfect opportunity to expand on what they already know. Move onto reading "Polar Bear, Polar Bear" or pick a new favorite show to explore. The key to learning is taking your child’s current knowledge and slowly expanding on it in order to teach new skills.
Over to you...
Do have a nonverbal child with autism who struggles with attention? Any tricks you've found successful? Share your story in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you!
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