Did your child gets lots of new toys for Christmas?
Don’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t seem to know how to play with new toys on his or her own.
AND… don’t fall into the trap of assuming “he must not like it” if he doesn’t play with a toy.
Most of the time when a toddler doesn’t play with toys, it means that he doesn’t know HOW to play.
That’s shocking to some parents of late talkers, but it’s true!
When children don’t know how to play, we have to teach them – just like we teach everything else.
So… psych yourself up, get down on the floor, and play with the toy yourself.
That’s what it’s going to take for many late talkers before they understand how a toy works.
This takes some effort, but it does pay off!
In my newest therapy manual Let’s Talk About Talking, I outline several ideas to help you begin to teach a toddler how to play. This isn’t a toy-by-toy approach, but guidelines to teach you how to help a child learn to play with any new toy.
One of the things I do first with toddlers who don’t play with toys is start with a strategy I call deconstruction. To summarize, you’re teaching a child to finish a play routine or take a toy apart rather than putting it together. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll never look at introducing a toy in the same way again. Last year I published a Therapy Tip of the Week about this technique. I’ve tweaked it a little since then (that’s in the new book!), but here’s a look to get you started.