Recently I have been meeting several parents in my ONLINE consultations, bring in their children with the complaint of limited social interaction, hyperactivity and disinterest in the environment around them.
On further probing I have learned that due to lack of opportunities to meet people and go outdoors consequent to the pandemic, children end up spending more and more time on gadgets. As a result, they are not familiar with social interaction and some are unable to even express their basic needs!
Toddlers learning to speak are getting delayed in achieving their milestones and young children with an underlying developmental delay are regressing further.
Here are 5 tips to prevent such communication delays during this lockdown that we as a country are going through.
1️⃣ FAMILY TIME: Spend quality time as a family without gadgets or toys. This will increase opportunities to interact and create interest in people.
2️⃣MOVE YOUR BODIES: Roughhousing, dancing, or exercising everyday can provide the proprioceptive input your child needs to keep him/ her regulated and alert, which in turn can set the stage for being receptive to spoken language.
3️⃣READING: Depending on the age of your child, you could either read to them or have them read their favourite book (there are several research papers indicating the importance of reading in early language development).
4️⃣RECREATION: It can mean anything that your child loves doing - from painting, playing with broken toys or Legos (varies from child to child). It’s only when you enter their world, that you can find opportunities to ELICIT language.
5️⃣ HOUSEHOLD CHORES: Watering plants, dusting, cleaning, and helping in cooking are a few every day chores you can engage your kids in. When you work as a TEAM, obviously there is going to be lot of give and that can build the receptive and expressive language skills.
All the tips offered above require your attentions and engagement with your child. The first week of attempting these strategies might be difficult with most of our children having limited attention span these days; however, when practiced consistently can bring about a significant differences in their communication skills.
Chitra Thadathil, MSc (Sp&Hg)
Founder & Director at DCCD