The Power of Waiting…

by | May 3, 2021 | Speech

“Waiting” is a tool that we use often in speech therapy that can easily be implemented at home. Waiting gives your child the chance to process what you’ve said or done so they can form a response. It can often be used at home during play or snack times. Rather than giving your child the entire pack of fruit snacks or all the pieces of a toy, you can give your child a few fruit snacks or a piece of a toy withholding the rest, then… wait! Waiting gives your child the opportunity to process that they want more or are all done, and allows them to request either. Snacks or food that are already in small pieces or can be cut or broken into small pieces are ideal, that way they can request multiple times. A few good toys to use include: blocks, puzzles, cars, potato head, or anything else that has multiple pieces.

Another way you can implement this strategy at home is by putting toys in clear plastic boxes that are difficult for children to open. This gives your child the ability to see what they want but not be able to get it without help and will require them to request “open” or “help”. You can use Tupperware, a box with snap on lid, or even zip lock bag to put toys in. Play-doh is also great to use because the containers are often hard for children to open without help.

I use waiting with my older articulation or language clients (elementary age and up) because it gives them the chance to self-correct their own errors. I often notice my clients responding quickly without completely processing what I want them to do, or blurting out the first answer that comes to their mind, which may be produced in error or not always correct. Waiting gives children the chance to process what you said, process their answer, then try to correct a mistake without your help.

Finally, waiting helps us avoid over prompting our kids. We don’t want our kids to become prompt or cue dependent. We want them to learn and be able to use their speech and language skills spontaneously. It’s important to remember that all children are different, so make sure to talk with your SLP or SLPA if you have questions on how to implement waiting with your child at home.

Tory Gregory M.S., SLP-CCC