Creating an Optimal Learning Environment

In light of recent events with many families spending more time at home, let’s talk about setting about your child’s play environment. Your child’s environment is an important component to their overall development and especially their language development. What are some things that you can do to create a facilitative environment for language development?

1. Get rid of the clutter

If there are toys everywhere you look, it will likely lead to disorganized play and language. Planning and following through with play is a difficult task that requires lots of practice, if there is a lot of distraction, it will make it harder. Keep a few choice toys out with all necessary pieces and rotate every few days.

2. Turn off TVs, devices and music

Seems obvious but it is sometimes a very important and easy first step. They are very big distractions that take away from crucial 1:1 interaction needed for language development.

3. If it has an “on” switch, try to avoid it.

Toys that turn on and off are often considered “passive” toys, meaning the toy does it all with just a flick of a switch and your little one doesn’t have to explore, investigate, problem solve and pretend. These toys don’t do much beyond the initial visual and auditory stimulation.

4. Position yourself to be eye level

Especially for our little ones who have gross motor, motor planning challenges and social/pragmatic challenges it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to establish eye contact and sustain gaze. If the chid is on a chair, I typically sit on the floor. If the child is on the floor I either sit or even lay down to facilitate eye contact.

5. Allow for movement

A child should never be restrained during therapy, play or otherwise. If you are a therapist conducting therapy in the child’s high chair and you’re not doing feeding therapy, this is a problem! Often times making the above changes will help with a child who is easily distracted. Also, incorporating gross motor movement is a win/win.

More questions about how to set up an environment for play and language development? Contact me here!

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