How to Encourage Talking

Tempt Communication

Try these ideas to encourage your child to communicate.  Before doing this have in mind what you want your child to do – look, point, make a sound, say a word etc.  Don’t hold out for something that he can’t do.  During the activity use lots of animation – use big gestures and lots of expression.  When waiting for your child to communicate always look very “expectantly”.  Wait for at least 10 and up to 20 seconds for a response.  Try counting in your head to make sure you are waiting long enough.  If you don’t get a response just try again.  Try an activity a few times before trying something else.  

  • With him watching, eat something that you know he likes.  Don’t offer him any until he “asks”.  

  • Activate a wind-up toy, let it stop and hand it to him.

  • Give him four blocks to drop in a box, one at a time (or use some other action that your child will repeat, such as stacking the blocks or dropping the blocks on the floor), then immediately give him something different such as a small animal figure.  Act surprised that it isn’t a block.

  • Look through books with him.  Excitetly point to pictures that he likes. Books with flaps or ones that have slides are especially good as you can be surprised what is hiding.  

  •  Open a container of bubbles, blow some, then close the container tightly and give him the jar.  Start a game that he likes such as Chase, Peek-A-Boo or Tickels.  Play until he is having fun and then suddenly stop.  

  • Blow up a balloon and let the air go out.  Then hand him the deflated balloon and wait.

  • Offer him something to eat or play with that you know he does not like.  Wait for him to refuse before taking it away and giving him something he does like.  

  • While he is watching, place a desired food item or toy in a clear container that he cannot open.  Then give him the container and wait.

  • Place his hand in a cold, wet, or sticky substance, such as jello, pudding, or paste – but only if he is basically Ok with something like this.

  • Roll a ball to him; after he returns the ball a few times, immediately roll something different to him.  See if he “comments” on the change.

  • Put together a simple puzzle with him.  After he has put in a few pieces give him a piece from a different puzzle that doesn’t fit. 

  • Play with something that can be spilled (a cup of cherrios, a container of blocks, a glass of water).  As you are playing suddenly make a spill – knock the cup of ceherrios onto the table, the container of blocks onto the floor, a cup of water onto the grass etc. 

  • Put something that makes noise into a bag or container that you can’t see into.  Show him the container and make a big deal about the noise.  If you give him the container either make sure its something he can’t open or if he does open it share the surprise as to what is inside.

  • Hide a stuffed animal under a blanket, table, cusion, etc.  Knock or make an animal noise and then bring out the animal.  Make it a big surprise that the animal was hiding. 

  •  Start a game that he likes such as Chase, Peek-A-Boo or Tickels.  Play until he is having fun and then suddenly stop.  He needs to “ask” for the game to continue.These “people games” often work very well.You are your child’s best toy!

I hope these ideas help.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I can be reached at

Madison Garvi – SLPatHome