The easiest way to increase both listening and language in children is a technique called Floortime. It works because it supports their learning at an individual level while giving parents a chance to unwind and enjoy their children without the pressure of teaching them something. It's ironic that this method actually teaches them more.
It's used by highly trained experts with children with special needs and it's called DIR. This is the short version and it works equally well for all children.
The underlying principle is that emotions spark learning. Floortime honors the circle of communication that takes place between adult and child. It starts with a gesture, a look, a sound, or a word. Then a response that leads to another. The circle continues like a game of catch being played between two highly engaged participants. According to Greenspan, it is the foundation of positive communication and learning.
Over my 43 years of practice and study, I've found this idea super effective. I call it the "lazy parenting" technique so try it! It will bring you closer to your child, improve their language ability all while relaxing and having fun.
Grab a beverage and sit down close to one of your children as they play. Quietly watch and eventually ask a few simple questions out of real curiosity. Don't try to teach them anything.
Put aside any judgment you have about their behavior or choices. This is the hard part. We always want to teach them but it's best if every once in a while we let them lead the show. Play is the perfect opportunity for them to try out skills and language freely. Let them. During Floortime, we become their assistants for a while.
Use this time to learn about your child. Notice what they're trying to accomplish in their play. Since play is nature's best way for children to learn, you're off the hook. Just enjoy your child. Since the pressure is off to teach, you'll probably be more relaxed and happier than ever, just to be with them. They will open up to you sooner or later, depending on the child, so make sure to listen carefully when they do.
This is the best way to support their learning and to build a stronger bond between you.
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