Cause and Effect – Tips for teaching your child how to make things happen

Father and son are playing together as part of the didactic children therapy

The cause and effect relationship is an important developmental milestone for language and learning. Your child will begin to learn the cause and effect relationship in infancy and gradually begin to use more sophisticated forms of communication including words. In our introduction to cause and effect post, we offered tips to help your child learn how to make things happen. Now, let’s look at how you can take learning to the next level and improve upon cause and effect even further.
Seven ways to improve cause and effect

  1. A natural learning environment is most beneficial and should be used most frequently for learning cause and effect during daily interactions.
  2. Your child will communicate to you using facial expressions, gestures, sounds and words. When your child communicates, make sure you respond immediately. This helps your child to learn that when they say a sound or word, you will respond. For example, when your child says, “ba” and points to a ball, you will give your child the ball and say “ball”. This helps your child tolearn that when he says a word, you will respond with actions and words.
  1. Even if your baby is not yet using words, you need to respond to his facial expressions, vocalizations, gestures and body movements. If your infant begins to open his mouth, stick out his tongue and move his head in your direction you may interpret this action as needing to be fed. You interpret and say, “You’re hungry” and you feed him.
  1. Encourage your child to explore objects and toys by touching, banging, shaking, and rolling.
  1. Interpret your child’s actions. “You squeezed Elmo’s tummy to make him laugh!” or “Oh no! Spoon fell on the floor, Mommy will pick it up.”
  2. Give your child the opportunity to touch different textures such as soft, hard, bumpy and gooey. Allow your child to explore and to get his hands messy when learning to eat.
  1. Have some fun! Play “people games” where you disappear and reappear. Play Peek-a-Boo. Cover an object with a blanket and then discover it by pulling the blanket off. This helps your child to develop an important cognitive skill called object permanence.In this video, we share these tips and demonstrate them with a child. If you have any tips to help improve cause and effect in children or infants, please share them in the comments below.

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