With springtime holidays such as Easter and Passover quickly approaching, visits with close and distant family members are common. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain to family members the best way to communicate with your child. Here are some tips to prepare both your family members and your child for their time together over the holiday.
Who is it? Greetings & Naming
- Practice greeting family members by name. Have one family member hide behind a door and knock. Another adult can encourage the child to ask and/or sign, “Who is it?” or provide a model by asking/signing this question for the child. Once the hidden family member has spoken his/her name, open the door and say, “Hi, (name)!” Repeat and take turns hiding behind the door and knocking for as long as your child is interested.
- You can adapt this activity by printing out pictures of family members and hiding them under a box. Take turns knocking on the box and then lift it up to see who is hiding underneath. Wave to the picture and say, “Hi (name)!” and then replace it after saying, “Bye bye, (name).”
Look at Me! Same/Different
- When parents describe the world around them, it helps to build a young child’s vocabulary as they listen to how words sound and experience their world through touch. Allow your child to touch your hair and describe to them how it feels (e.g., “Daddy just took a shower, my hair feels wet.”). Then compare it to their own (e.g., “Your hair feels dry and you have curls. Your hair feels curly.”).
- For children who are beginning to label how things look and feel, encourage them to describe similarities and differences while looking in a mirror with you or looking at pictures of themselves and another family member. Expand their vocabulary and sentences by pointing out your own observations.
Teaching Family Members How it Works & Why it is Important
Have you ever hesitated leaving your child with a family member because you worry that they might not know what to do if your child’s device stops working? Or perhaps you have a family member who doesn’t understand why your child needs his/her device, claiming, “They can hear just fine without it.”
Here are a few ideas for helping to educate your family:
1. Set aside a specific time to show them the device and explain how it works…let them try it out.
2. Invite them to Parent Infant or any therapy sessions to observe.
3. Share this Audiogram of Familiar Sounds with them and compare it with your child’s audiogram. Talk about what your child can and can’t hear without their amplification.