Learning Communication Skills

Percussion instruments were probably the first instruments developed and were often used for communication. Percussion instruments are easy to play. I like to use drums and other percussion instruments to work on language skills. You can use drums, shakers, xylophones, or claves. If you don’t have any instruments, you can use some beans in an empty water bottle, a spoon and pot, or clap your hands. You can try these tips using nothing but your voice, too.

Set aside some time to play with your child. Offer some instruments or just explore sounds together and see what develops. Non-verbal, musical improvisation can help your child learn conversation skills, like turn-taking, listening, and creativity.

♫    Tune in – Match your child’s sounds, either on the instruments, or with your voice. See if he becomes aware of your sounds waits for you to make the sound too. Or make a sound and wait for him to make one.

♫    Tune up – Once you are taking turns, see if she will match your sounds. Play or sing three sounds and wait for her to match your sounds. Or encourage her to make some sounds for you to copy.

♫    Tune out – Stay present with your child and really attend to what he is communicating. Try to focus on the moment, rather than thinking about other things you have going on. That’s an important part of communication, too!