Why is waiting a powerful tool?
Most parents lead and direct the interaction with their child without giving them an opportunity to initiate or share their interests.
It seems easier to take the lead and initiate the interaction.
Most parents lead and direct the interaction with their child without giving them an opportunity to initiate or share their interests. It seems easier to take the lead and initiate the interaction.
Children at different developmental stages will communicate with you in different ways such as through their facial expressions, body language, gestures or words. You may miss the subtle attempts your child is making to communicate with you, especially when they use non-verbal communication.
By waiting, it lets your child know that they are important and that you are interested in what they have to show you or communicate to you. By waiting, it lets your child know that you are ready for them to respond and initiate.
What to I have to do?
Waiting means to stay silent. The general rule is to wait around 5-10 seconds. You can silently count to 5 or 10. How long you wait is dependent on your child and their stage of development. With practice, you can figure out how much time your child needs. It is important to lean forward and look at your child expectantly while waiting. This lets them know that you are expecting them to send you a message.
What am I waiting for?
You wait for any attempts that your child is making to communicate with you. Your child may send a message to you through non-verbal ways, like with facial expressions, actions, or sounds. They may send you messages with verbal ways, like with words or sentences. When they do, respond appropriately (e.g., continue singing the song, operate a toy for them).
Sometimes we have to create opportunities to use waiting, like:
- Offering a little…then wait. For example: Pour only a little water in your child’s bottle or cup and wait until he/she drinks it all…then wait.
- Putting things out of reach…then wait. For example: Put one of your child’s favourite toys somewhere where he/she can’t reach, walk over to it…then wait.
What will I see after waiting
- Your child will want to communicate with you more.
- An increase in the number of times your child initiates.
- Your child having fun and enjoying the interaction with you.
Waiting is a powerful tool that you can use to encourage your child to communicate with you.
What can a Speech Pathologist do for you?
We can coach you on how you can try waiting with your child. Each child is different so it is important that we work collaboratively to decide how long to wait and what to wait for. We can discuss how you can apply waiting in your everyday routine with your child.