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Follow Your Child’s Lead

As therapists, we rely on following a child‘s interests to guide therapy sessions. Children (and adults) are always more likely to participate when you appeal to their interests. Parents looking to help improve their child’s language can use this strategy as well. Follow your child’s lead!

Parents often look for ways to interact with busy toddlers in a way that is meaningful and will help them to learn new skills. Following your child’s lead will take you down the right path. Watch how your child plays and you will see what interests him/ her the most.

Once you see what interests him, you can provide choices between activities and objects. Giving choices empowers little ones, and it also guarantees that the activity is one they will enjoy (even if only for a few minutes.) Sounds like a WIN- WIN to me!

Below is an excerpt from a recent post on

Although the information was written for therapists, it can be applied to parents and caregivers as well. You can follow the steps below with any daily activity.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does he /she enjoy sitting, constructing/deconstructing toys, make-believe?

  • Does he /she prefer running, jumping, tossing items?

  • Does he /she like a mixture of low and high energy play?

  • Does he /she spend a long time with an activity or bounce among them?

This information helps you insert yourself into the client’s play more easily, so you can shift between goals throughout the session by mimicking natural interactions.

For example, if the child plays with a toy kitchen set, you can prompt him to:

Label items: “What are you making?” Match items: “Can I have a cup like yours?” Follow directions: “Please hand me a spoon.”

Follow your child’s lead. Use their interests, favorite toys, pets, snacks, etc to help build more language. You can read the full article here.

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