When our special children smile, they light up our world. When they laugh, they make our hearts dance, and when they connect for even a few moments, they give us a gift of happiness like no other. Connecting with our children is not easy; it requires skills, patience, and a lot of repetition, but when it happens, the pure joy of this connection is priceless.
We encourage all parents to take the time to connect with their child, and the following 10 tips can help you get connected today:
- Talk to your child, even when they are not looking. Just remember that they are listening.
- Repeating is a tried and true teaching technique – do not get tired or give up.
- Find their favorite toy and start playing, remember to just have fun with your child.
- Remember that screaming for attention or even pulling, kicking, etc. is a way of communication; use these gestures as teaching opportunities to build up proper use of communication and language.
- Build a structured daily routine. You can use visual schedules and include play time, reading or any other activity that you can do with your child daily.
- Encourage siblings to engage with their brother or sister in playing, talking or activities.
- Use videos and stories to teach new skills, such as going to the bookshop, playground, or to the veterinarian to prepare them for outings. Take them through the planned activity and show them how outings can be fun.
- Do not hesitate to use technology tools for communication. There are many electronic tools and software designed to help build communication and language for children.
- Focus on using games or activities that build muscle tone, gross motor skills, fine motor skills or work on sensory integration. Great activities include blowing bubbles, making a sand castle, finding hidden toys in rice or lentil buckets, using tweezers to carry toys from one bucket to another, jumping on exercise balls, jumping on a trampoline, cutting and pasting or simply using hands for painting and coloring.
- Always remember to reward proper behavior with hugs, kisses, high fives and tickles – these rewards are free, unlimited, and make children very happy.