Help your child process requests in 1...2...3

Children need time to process information, including directives like “Eat your vegetables” and “For the love of God, be quiet!” Whichever flavor of counting you prefer – “1, 2, 3” or “3, 2, 1” – it is a way to give them time to process. However, there are two reasons to do it differently.

1. Your child is strong willed

If you’re finding that after counting to 2, you have to add 2 ½ before getting to 3, well, there is a better way. Have your child participate in the countdown. Using a visual communication app called Viz Kids, you can show them the countdown to the next activity or desired behavior and have them press the numbers so they feel some control. Also, unlike spoken language that is here in the moment and then gone, visuals are more permanent, and your child can see the countdown and your expectation and keep it in their working memory longer.

2. You’re child is preverbal

Children who cannot express themselves verbally yet, and may or may not understand language well, can usually understand visual communication. This includes children with autism, but it is certainly not exclusive to them. Toddlers with brains of most shapes and sizes can understand visual communication before spoken language, and a visual countdown is more effective. And to really promote language, it is best to model spoken language while using the visual supports. Download the Viz Kids app for iPhones and iPads here.

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