Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Developmental Wednesday #10

This week's developmental Wednesday is dedicated to symbolic play.

Words and language are a series of symbols. Children need to think in symbols before they can really make sense of language. Letting your preemie play with a doll or teddy bear is one of the first steps of symbolic play. At a later stage, symbolic play will help your preemie extend more complex vocabulary.

Here are some ways to get your preemie started with symbolic play.

1) Doll or Teddy Bear - offer your preemie a doll or teddy bear that is only for him/her. Give the doll or teddy bear a name.

2) Start by hugging or kissing the doll/teddy bear and then encourage your preemie to do the same. Give your preemie a chance to bond with the doll/teddy bear and then "take care of it." Showing affection is a good place to start.

3) Give your preemie items that will allow him/her to take care of the doll/teddy bear. Create a kit that includes items like a hairbrush, toothbrush, cup, spoon, bowl, and blanket. Show your preemie the items and then encourage him/her to use each one on the doll or teddy bear. Describe what you (and then them) are doing - "look, I'm brushing the doll's hair" or "the doll is hungry, let's feed her."

Have fun playing and watching your preemie develop his/her skills in language and play!

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