What a lovely picture you are probably thinking, a dad reading to his child, perfect! hmmmm… yes and no! Let me expand.
It is of course lovely reading a book to your toddler and the more often you do, the better! If your child is speaking and listening well, if he/she is asking little questions and can hear dad talking from behind and pointing to things then all is fine, but then I don’t suppose you would be reading this or having any interest in my website or blog.
Since you are reading this, I suspect your little one is perhaps a little behind with their speech and or language; perhaps he does not ask questions or maybe she does not point to anything you say when you are sitting like this with her. Or perhaps you are finding that your toddler/child just flips the pages back and forth whilst you are trying your best to read the text nicely?
If a child is having difficulties attending, listening, understanding and speaking then this positioning as shown in the picture is not the best. The reason is that a child who is having difficulties attending to adult’s speaking, will find it even harder to listen when the speaker is behind the child or very high up so that he/she needs to really look up at their faces.
Often our children with a delay don’t do this: they find it hard to engage jointly with an adult and can often just be focusing on what they are interested in, to the exclusion of everything around them. If this sounds like your little one, then my recommendation is to try and make it as easy as possible for your child to look at your face whilst you are reading to them. It will really help if the adult is positioned opposite the child, or as near as, so that it is quite easy for the child to make eye contact and quickly look up at adult’s face and mouth to see what is being said.
Now that you have re-positioned yourself and you are at roughly the same height to your child and eye-levels are roughly even, you can begin and enjoy the book together.
And since we are talking about reading to your toddler, let me make a few suggestions for good books to get when speech and language is lagging behind a little .
Below is one of my favourite book suggestions as copying animal noises is one of the first and most fun things to be practising with babies and toddlers.
This book is great for :
- copying animal sounds
- ‘what’ questions
- Speech Sounds (see below)
The simple rhyming text, and cheerful illustrations will quickly draw toddlers in. After encountering each animal, the question ‘But what noise comes from a giraffe?’ is repeated.
- The language in this book is simple but the illustrations are fun and there is lots to talk about and amuse your toddler
- As the giraffe appears in a variety of locations we can easily weave in early prepositions (in/under/behind)
Which Speech Sounds can be practised:
- Dj giraffe, joke
- M moo, meow, tummy
- N noise, neigh, near, funny, lion
- R roar, giraffe
- T cat, hoot
- Z noise
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.