If you’ve visited the Children’s Department of the Cheshire Public Library you’ve probably noticed the large amounts of toys we have. We love to see kids play and love to see them playing with their caregivers together even more! We view play as a fundamental building block for preparing children to read as well as the general development of any child.
There are a few easy steps that you can take to enhance play with your little one in the easy to remember acronym OWL. This system was developed by the Hanen Centre, a not-for-profit charitable organization committed to promoting the best possible language, literacy, and social skills in young children. We provide parents and professionals with a variety of resources and trainings to help them maximize the early language learning of all children – including those with or at risk of language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more tips and strategies on building interaction into every part of the day, visit their website at www.hanen.org
Observe: Understanding what your child wants or what is going through their mind is difficult. Taking the time to observe your child and see where their attention is focused on can help you share the moment with him/her.
Wait: Waiting gives your child time to start an interaction or respond to what you’ve said or done. Waiting means three things: stop talking, lean forward, and look at your child expectantly. Waiting can be one of the most difficult things for parents/caregivers to do. Counting to 10 to yourself can help ensure you don’t rush.
Listen: Listening means paying very close attention to your child’s words and sounds and ensuring that you don’t interrupt him/her. This can be difficult, especially when you are trying to figure out what your child is trying to tell you.
We have many books and DVDs by the Hanen Centre that expand on OWL at the Cheshire Public Library in the Parenting Collection in the Children’s Room. Check them out today.
You can also attend our parent workshop: Helping Your Child Learn. We’ll go over ways you can incorporate the practices into playtime, reading time, and everyday activities. Dinner and childcare will be provided.