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Early turn-taking is the beginning of conversation without words. Young children learn to anticipate the adult and repeat the action. This leads to the child imitating new actions introduced by the adult.
Mirror whatever your child does – their sounds, facial expressions, gestures, and actions (provided it's acceptable behaviour). Then wait for the child to join in. Don’t be afraid of silence - allow your child plenty of time to respond to your communication or to express something of their own, rather than jumping in too soon or anticipating their needs.
Singing, clapping and rocking games are the best ways to encourage movement, imitation and turn-taking. Look for the reaction when you stop and start the rhyme. Repeat familiar turn-taking games that the child enjoys, such as knocking over a tower of blocks.
Position a mirror so your child can explore their own reflection.
Encourage physical movement with different types of music. Create a collection of favourite music and movements.
By recording the child’s favourite turn-taking games in a learning journal or play diary you will help other adults to engage and communicate with the child. You will begin to recognise what music and movements instil calmness and serenity, excitement or frustration.
A guide for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators
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