Play and Language: Follow the child’s lead

Play and Language: Follow the child’s lead
June 5, 2020 tlc-user

Follow the child’s lead means letting the child choose the activity and letting the child play with it in their own way.

Why is it important?

  • It shows the child you are interested in them
  • It helps the child concentrate because they are playing with something that interests them
  • It encourages them to talk
  • It develops their understanding because what you say will be more relevant



  • Stop what you are doing so that you can focus on the child.
  • Let the child lead the play and choose what they would like to do


  • Look at what the child is doing.
  • Listen to things the child tries to say.
  • Think about what the child would like to be able to say.
  •  This will make your responses more relevant and appropriate.


  • Explain: describe what the child is doing or looking at, say something short and simple which you think the child would  like to be able to say.
  • Repeat: repeat back what the child says using a correctly structured and articulated sentence.
  •  Expand: repeat what the child says but add 1 or 2 words