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Lesson 2 - Getting face to face

Get down to your child's level to encourage interaction

Lady and child

Getting face to face will help you tune into your child’s communication attempts.

You can sit on the floor with them or somewhere where your eyes are at a similar height to theirs (e.g. on the couch, high chair, small table and chairs, etc).

Observe and respond to your child’s:

  • Actions (e.g. leaning body forward)
  • Gestures (e.g. pointing, waving)
  • Facial expressions
  • Interests (e.g. does your child like rolling or kicking the ball?)

This will allow you to notice your child's non-verbal communication attempts. When you acknowledge these attempts, you share moments of positive interaction with your child. Later you can add language to their nonverbal communication.

Let's watch...

What does the parent observe the child doing?

The child isn't giving much eye contact, making sounds or attempting to say words.

How does the parent interpret what the child does?

The child attempts to give her mother the ball and bangs on it but her mother does not interpret her message or use of gesture.

How does the parent interpret what the child says?

By asking a question that the child is not able to answer - "what do you do with that?". In this situation, if the parent was face to face and able to interept the child's message then she could have modeled some action words such as "bounce" to interpret what the child was doing.

Let's break it down...

Let's watch...

What does the parent observe the child doing?

Playing, showing, using gestures

How does the parent interpret what the child does?

By copying them, or commenting on what they are doing

What does the parent hear the child say?

Airplane sounds and words such as up and down

How does the parent interpret what the child says?

By copying, responding, and adding words/expanding

Let's break it down...

Caregiver Self-reflection

At home:

  • What do you observe your child doing at home when you get face to face?
  • What is your child interested in?
  • What is your child telling you?
  • How does your child communicate what he/she needs or wants?
  • Does your child use actions, gestures, facial expressions, sounds, words or a combination of these to communicate?

Tips for getting face to face

  • Be at the same height as your child so they can see your face
  • Make sure you can see their facial expressions and gestures
  • Make sure you can see what they are interested in

Implications for not getting face to face

  • Not getting face to face means that you may have trouble interpreting your child’s message
  • You may miss opportunities for communication
  • Your child will find it harder to learn that communication is a two-way street

Last updated 18 Sep 2020