Why we wait

Over the next several months, we will be sending many easy speech and language activities for your toddler to help with development but we'll also be sending some actionable tips straight from our therapy tool kits!  It is important for parents to know what we do in a typical therapy session.  Our hopes that these tips will help parents help their children develop speech and language.

Before we get to the content, be sure to save the date!  On February 22 at 8 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, Lindsey and Rebecca will be holding a Facebook Live to talk about some easy and actionable speech and language strategies for your toddlers!  We will answer as many questions as well.  Also-check out our easy and actionable expressive language tips.  This is an abbreviated version of techniques we use in therapy daily.

1.  Why we wait:  Today we are talking about why we wait during conversation with our toddlers and preschoolers.  If you have been following us for a while, we've already talked about the importance of receptive language.  Your child has to understand and comprehend everyday vocabulary in order to use words in spoken language.

baby waiting.jpeg

If you know a "type A" speech therapist (Rebecca is guilty), you know it is hard for us to stop talking and JUST LISTEN.  This is one of the best and underused strategies in our tool kits.  Often, we ask a child a question and we don't give the child enough time to respond.  We just keep asking questions, making requests and making statements and the child is overloaded with language without given the opportunity to respond or ask a question themselves.

The journal article cited below (Rowe, 1986), is a review article which talks about how much time teachers give to students.  The findings of the review state that is important to give students three seconds or more of 'wait time' for improved learning.  For our toddlers and preschoolers, it can be increased to five seconds, especially if there is a complex word being used or a new concept being taught.  

Avery 'waiting' inside of a Nordstrom department store.  We were talking about a huge aquarium that is in the store and I was explaining the concepts of coral, seaweed and different sizes of fish to her.

Avery 'waiting' inside of a Nordstrom department store.  We were talking about a huge aquarium that is in the store and I was explaining the concepts of coral, seaweed and different sizes of fish to her.

The Hanen:  It Takes Two to Talk Program recommends using the OWLs technique.  The OWLs technique recommends that parents Observe, Wait and Listen.  It is important to take the time to observe your child's body language — your child's actions, gestures and facial expressions — will help you figure it out.  For example, in the picture above, I am looking at what my daughter is looking at and commenting on it (coral reef, seaweed, different sizes of fish, different colors of fish) and changing what I am commenting on based on what she is observing.  I am taking her lead and talking about things she is interested in.

Waiting is imperative.  Per the It Takes Two to Talk website waiting is a powerful tool. It gives you time to observe what your child is interested in. Even more importantly, it gives your child time to start an interaction or respond to what you’ve said or done. In this book, wait means three things: stop talking, lean forward and look at your child expectantly.  Read more about waiting here.

The third technique Hanen recommends is to listen.  Listening means paying close attention to all of your child’s words and sounds. Take care not to interrupt your child, even if you’ve already figured out what she’s telling you. When you listen to your child’s message, you’re also letting your child know that what she says is important to you. This helps build your child's confidence and self-esteem.

We hope this helps when you are working with your toddler in developing speech and language.  The next time you're working one on one with your little one, remember to WAIT!

Please contact us at toddlerstalkingtt@gmail.com with more questions.

*Rowe, 1986.  Journal of Teacher Education.  http://www.scoe.org/blog_files/Budd%20Rowe.pdf Retrieved on 1/31/18.