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Motivating your Child to Communicate More

Motivating a child to communicate can be a challenge. With my own daughters, they struggled to express the signs that they knew. My 4 year old is improving, however, when she sees everyone talking and not really signing, then she will drop her signs and point and grunt. It is a reminder for all of us to keep signing…no matter what. Here are some ideas to help in the motivation:

  1. Bring out a new item or toy. Having something new, can peek their interest to communicate about it.

  2. Place a favorite item in sight, but out of reach. The child will have to sign for it, ask and answer questions on how to retrieve it, and so forth.

  3. Occasionally “accidentally” give you child something different than what he expects. For example if the you are looking at a banana, tell the child, “I think this is an apple!” The child will then help to correct you that “not apple, but banana.” My daughter loves this game!

  4. Provide activities that are fun, interesting, and appropriate for your child’s age level.

  5. Provide choices: this provides an opportunity for turn-taking and practice in decision making.


Remember to keep you hands moving: sign, sign, and sign. Do your best, but mistakes are going to happen, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Remember that you are learning a new language as well as teaching that new language at the same time. Think about that for just a moment. You are learning a language and then immediately teaching someone that language, which is impactful and can be exhausting. Just keep signing one moment, one hour, and one day at a time. 

Motivating your Child to Communicate More



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