From the moment your child is young, start giving them opportunities to make a choice. While holding a shirt in each hand, ask “Do you want the yellow shirt or the red shirt?” Even if your child isn’t yet using words to communicate, they may look toward their choice and you can say, “You want the yellow one.” A good starting point is to start with food (apples or
bananas) and clothing (differen...t shirts). When your child has opportunities throughout the day to make choices, they develop self-esteem, confidence, listening skills, and are more likely to understand those times when they do not have a choice, such as when you have your child hold your hand in a parking lot. Keep in mind that children often choose the last choice they heard so you’ll want to mix up the order (maybe list their favorite item first) and
there will be times when your child communicates their preference and their preference was not listed. When this happens, you can say, “I asked if you wanted apples or bananas. Those are your choices.” If they keep naming the item you did not list, you can say, “Grapes are not a choice. Your choices are apples or bananas.” By providing choices, both the parent and the child feel ownership and control – you determined the options and they made the choice. What are some ways you offer choices to your little one?
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist
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