Follow your child’s lead

Little ones don’t need elaborate activities and set up. Have you spent precious time setting up a fabulous play idea just to have your child dismiss it completely, leave after a few minutes, or use your pretty train tracks as a superhero costume (see exhibit A)?

Exhibit A

That isn’t to say I don’t still set up play situations with a specific idea in mind because that is still valuable and important BUT 80% of my play time with the boys is led by their crazy little wild minds (see exhibit B)

Exhibit B

When I suggest making cookies, do I think getting in the food tub and putting ketchup in my coffee pot is the first step?


But who really cares about making cookies when there is a perfectly good tub to play in. He has no interest in the food items themselves but throwing things out of it and having mom dump things on him is hysterical and AWESOME.

The play is not about me, it is all about him, his development, and, of course, LANGUAGE.

Language examples:

  • Put in
  • More in
  • Throw
  • Dump
  • Oh no
  • Ahhhhhh
  • Kick feet
  • On your head

So, embrace the crazy and nonsense. Your child is always going to be more interested in the way they want to play so you’ll get more attention and more “buy in” if you use whatever they are doing and dive right in.

Published by Dr. Miranda Wolff

I am a speech-language pathologist and I specialize in early intervention. I obtained my Masters degree from Penn State University and my Doctorate Degree from Rocky Mountain University of Healthcare Professions. I have worked in a variety of setting but most of my experience is working with preschool aged children. I thought I knew so much about that age and younger until I had my own children! I'm a proud mother of two wonderful boys and while they can be a challenge at times, they help me develop new skills and new ways to approach language development in a functional and motivating way I would never have truly grasped without them. I started this blog in an effort to share and support others while their little ones are growing and learning and also to support my fellow SLPs. I hope you find my posts helpful. My goal is to provide practical ideas and suggestions because I know first hand that setting out to do anything that isn't functional or motivating for you and your children won't give you the results or satisfaction we all hope to obtain while working with our little ones.

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