Interacting With Your Toddler/Preschooler
04/19/2014 10:44AM ● Published by Hood Magazine
Julie Klusmann, OTR/L
Often parents can sense problems with their children at a young age. They may notice their child is not observant, responding to their name, or making eye contact. They might notice their child does not engage in playful exchanges. We have heard this story many times. Parents know when something is wrong, but other family members may discourage these observations with comments like, “They’ll grow out of it.”
As therapists, we view eye contact and playful interactions as foundational to developing competent communication skills. The simple games of our own childhood are often the easiest resources in developing these foundational skills. Games such as Peek-a-Boo, Pat-a-Cake, and So Big are easy ways to reinforce and promote these skills. Play time should always be at eye level and will help to make interacting playful and fun.
Another part of development lies in sensory experiences. How children process sensory information is vital to interacting successfully. Every interaction with your child involves the sensory system, including hugging and cuddling, tossing in the air, twirling in circles, allowing them to get messy and dirty, singing songs, and reading books. It is imperative that these interactions primarily involve you as opposed to the television, computer, or other forms of technology.