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Encouraging Early Communication skills – Playing Peek-a-boo

Everyone has heard of peek-a-boo. It’s the simple, classic game that can be played behind your hands, using a piece of fabric, or around a door. You can hide behind anything really!

Why play Peek-a-boo?

  • It develops object permanence – that even though your baby can’t see an object it still exists.
  • It develops social interaction – interaction which provides pleasure simply because another person is there to share the experience.
  • It develops eye contact and turn taking skills.
  • It develops shared communication – your baby smiles/laughs then in turn you smile/laugh and because it is fun for you both it is repeated.
  • It is predictable and repetitive – babies and young children learn through repetition.
  • It’s a great game to play with your baby and from around 6 – 8 months of age your baby realises that Mummy or Daddy are just hiding and they will begin to anticipate the game.

How to play

  1. First gain your baby’s attention and eye contact.
  2. When you know your baby is looking at you hide your face – only for a few seconds.
  3. Then say “where’s Mummy?” or “Where’s Daddy?” etc – being conscious of your volume.
  4. Uncover your face and with a big smile say “peek-a-boo” or “boo”
  5. Watch for your baby’s turn – this may be a smile, a body movement or their attentiveness. Repeat the game.
  6. Initially your baby may be surprised that you have returned but they will learn to anticipate what’s going to happen and may even start to grin as you cover your face.

As your baby gets older you can try covering their eyes with a piece of light fabric and say “where’s ………..?”  Pull the cloth away and say “boo”. Your baby may move under the cloth and eventually they will begin to pull the cloth away.

Written by Sarah Neilson – Independent Speech and Language Therapist

Chester Speech Therapy

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