Sabotage is a fun strategy to use with your child.  It is hard for a child to resist communicating when this strategy is used.  Sabotage is doing something unusual or setting up a situation where your child has to tell you that you are doing something wrong or silly.

Here are some examples of this strategy in use:

  • Parent puts a pair of pants on the child’s head by “mistake.”
  • Parent blows bubbles and puts the bubble container up on a high shelf.
  • Parent can’t figure out how to blow a bubble.
  • Parent puts something desirable in a clear container that a child cannot open and leaves it within child’s reach.
  • Parent sings a familiar song and “forgets” the words or mixes up the words.
  • Parent makes a toy dog meow.
  • Parent puts child’s favorite toy out of reach and within sight before your child enters the room.
  • Parent brushes child’s nose by “mistake” when brushing teeth.
  • Parent pretends a toy car is a hat.

You get the idea.  Basically, do something that will spark your child’s interest while you play “dumb.”  Keep your talking to a minimum and give your child time to communicate with you that something is wrong or silly.  Your child may communicate with only gestures or simple words and that is fine.  This strategy is designed to give your child opportunities to be a successful communicator.  Being a successful communicator will give your child more confidence in his/her ability to communicate and help them discover the joy of communicating.