Try a Few Rounds of Flashlight Tag
In the evening, once it's dark out, cuddle up on the couch in a dimly lit room with your child. Arm yourselves with a couple of flashlights, and then shine yours on different objects around the room, challenging her to follow your lead. You might say, "I'm shining my light at the books on those shelves! Can you do it too?"
How It Helps The novelty of playing with the flashlight will keep your little one engaged while she listens for your next direction, says Blaustein. (Lowering the light in the room will also help her block out other distractions, like her favorite toys.) With an older toddler, see whether she can copy a pattern that you're making, like shining the light in big circles or waving it back and forth in a zigzag. Bonus: This flashlight game may help with fears of the dark too!
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Parents magazine.