You have heard strategies from so many different people, you are confused by which you should use with your child. You’ve ended up not using any strategies to support speech and language development because you don’t know where to start. Let me ease your overwhelm and take you through the Observe, Wait and Listen (OWL) strategy, which you can use with any child of any age.
Our goal is to allow children to engage with us, to have that moment of 1:1 shared experience, a moment of curiosity, a moment you can share together. The OWL strategy aims to provide exactly that! The use of ‘observe, wait and listen’ generates spontaneity. After all, we want our children to be able to communicate in all different environments, in a way that is appropriate for different situations and not just the therapy setting.
The OWL strategy
The OWL strategy allows you to gain a connection with your child. But you might be left wondering what each of the stages mean. Let’s explore this further.
Observe: You observe your child carefully, paying close attention to what they say or do.
Wait: You wait. This allows your child time to initiate an interaction or show an interest. Waiting is more difficult than you think. Try practicing this technique for 5-10 seconds. It’s surprising how long it is. Remember silence is golden!
Listen: Listen to your child and respond appropriately. This is instead of thinking about what you are going to say next.
One of my top tips is to choose a time in the day to practice the OWL strategy. This could be as little as 3 minutes in the day. Little and often is best practice for success.
Alongside the OWL strategy, you can copy what your child is doing with respect and enthusiasm. The most important thing to take away from this blog is that you’re making no demands on your child and that it’s all about having fun on a regular basis! Start using the OWL strategy today, it’s never too late to begin!
Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.