Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Keep Talking: Part 2

This is part 2 of the Keep Talking series. This series provides suggestions for ways to talk to your preemie even though he/she isn't talking back. Today's post will give you more ideas to keep the conversation going. Keep Talking: Part 1 has some additional ideas for you.

1) Action - when you talk to your preemie and narrate what you or he/she is doing, use action words like jump, run, sit, sleep, etc. This is a great thing to do with a stuffed animal. Make the doggie jump high or lay down. Give a stuffed animal to your preemie so that he/she can do it with you. Try to repeat the word and action as many times as possible in a row so your preemie really starts to process the word and the meaning. If you go for a walk you can say "look we are walking. Let's walk. Look we are walking together. Wow. You are so fast. Maybe tomorrow we can walk again." This is also a great activity to do with siblings. Narrate what they are doing or get them to play Simon says so that you can repeat an action several times.

2) Description - Help your preemie understand more about what is going on around them by using descriptive words. Try it right now - grab the closest object to you. What words can you use to describe it? For example, I have a little rubber ducky next to me (courtesy of my daughter). I can say that the ducky is yellow. The duck has an orange beak. The duck has a purple crown on her head. The crown is very pretty. The duck has a purple star too. This duck is small. You can squish the duck to make a squeaky sound." And on and on you can go. To start, try picking a single descriptive word and use it as many times as you can. Put your creative hat on and just start talking. Make it a game. Get siblings involved. If you have trouble thinking of things - talk about the shape, size, color, weight, location, noise, size, etc.

3) Keep it simple - Sometimes preemies have a hard time processing all of the words that we say. Especially when we are trying to tell them to do something specific. I've found that if I keep the request down to 2-3 words my daughter has a much easier time understanding me. It may sound weird to a stranger but trust me - it works. Some examples are: if I want my daughter to put a toy in a bin, I simply point to the toy and then the bin while I say "put in." As she gets older and understands more I will expand that to "put car in" and then "put car in bin," etc. Start simple and see how your preemie reacts. Chances are he/she will have a much easier time following your direction.

It may seem hard to do these things but trust me, once you get started it will quickly become a regular part of your day/routine. Just like anything else, start small. Pick one time of a day where you will narrate everything you are doing. Or choose bath time to describe the toys your preemie is playing with. Choose one activity where you simplify your language.

Happy talking!

No comments: