Families reach EI outcomes by making the most of everyday moments. In early intervention (EI), we focus on how children learn during everyday routines. Caregivers can help children successfully participate by encouraging infants and toddlers to be active participants throughout the day. As a caregiver, you can:
Take Turns With Your Child
- You do, I do! Wet a washcloth and let your child take a turn wiping his own face.
- Wait for a response and help your child learn the routine. For example, say “so big” and wait for your child to hold her arms up over her head or help her hold her arms up.
- Take turns stacking blocks or throwing bean bags or rolled-up socks into a basket.
Match and Follow Your Child
- Notice where your child is looking or turn your head toward the sound your child is reacting to.
- Respond to your child’s feelings by naming emotions such as sad, happy, and mad.
- Copy your child’s action or sound. Wave your hand back at her wave or clap along with your child.
Challenge Your Child
- Give your child safe and interesting objects and toys to explore. She may enjoy banging on pots or looking through a transparent cup.
- Add to routines. Sing a new toothbrushing song, let your child fill and empty a laundry basket while you fold clothes, or play peekaboo with a towel during bathtime.
- Present “dilemmas” for the child to solve, such as hiding a toy in a box and encouraging your child to find it or putting a favorite toy further away to encourage her to pull up and reach for it.
Get in Place to Connect
- Position a nonmobile child so he can hear and see well.
- Physically support your child to allow interaction by using pillows or your hands.
- Use all of your spaces, such as a blanket on the floor, a grassy patch, or playground as places for interactions.
Adapted from the Illinois Early Learning Project “Early Learning Moments” series