Imitation starts with objects (i.e. tapping blocks together) and goes all the way up to repeating short phrases. Babies and children love to copy adults around them, so make it fun and part of your daily routine. Meet your child where they are. If they can copy body movements, such as clapping, you can work on imitating facial movements, such as blowing a kiss.
Toys are great but not essential! With a baby, you can play peek-a-boo or hide
under a blanket, and with an older child, play chase! Pairing hand movements with a familiar song is a great way to work on pairing gestures with words in a fun way without a toy. You are your child’s most favorite toy!
Research has shown that children use words about three months after a gesture is
used. Wow! Common gestures include waving, clapping, and knock knock. Pair the gesture with the word as you are playing with your child.
Words like more, all done and no are important to focus on instead of colors,
numbers, shapes and please or thank you. A word like “more” is a power word. Using the sign for “more” or saying “more” will immediately get your child more of something!
Continued exposure to new words will help your child understand and develop
language. Pick specific routines such as playing with cars and target the same words (i.e. beep beep, go, stop) each time you play! Repeat up, up, up when you are walking up the stairs so your child can pair language with a routine activity.