If you are concerned about your child’s speech development, you don’t need to worry. There are many activities that you and your kids can do together that will help fine-tune their speech and language skills. The specialists at Long Island Speech Therapy have come up with a list of 10 tips that will help you with the development of your little one’s speech whether you are at home or on the playground.
1. Being a Speech Role Model
Children learn how to speak based on what they hear. When speaking to your child, do so as properly as you can. It is important to speak slowly, and look at your child as you are talking. If they have trouble with certain words or even sentences, don’t correct them. Instead, ask them to repeat it and just say it back to them correctly. This shows your child that you understood them clearly, and it exemplifies the correct pronunciation of what has been giving them trouble. Remember, whatever you say, they will learn and you will be their temporary speech pathologist at that moment.
2. Speak With Your Children at Their Level
It is important that you use words that your child is going to understand. If you want to teach them strong vocabulary, that’s great! Just make sure you are explaining definitions and pronunciations to them. Assuming that your child knows a word or phrase will not be helpful to their development.
3. Be Available For Practice
A great way to practice speech development for your child is to spend some quality one on one time with them each day. You can do this by reading a book together and looking at its pictures, or going over some new vocabulary words. While it is understandable that time is limited on some days, the routine of just spending a few minutes talking together alone each day will be beneficial. Make sure that this time is distraction free and specifically set aside for the two of you.
4. Television Off, Pacifier Out!
Even though there is plenty of dialogue to listen to, children do not learn speech and language through the television. In fact, too much TV can cause a child to be easily distracted, and lead to listening and attention skills. This will negatively affect their learning abilities in school. It is also smart to limit a toddler’s time with their pacifier. They will not learn proper ways of speaking if they stay dependent on it for too long.
5. Observations and Commentary
When playtime comes around, it presents a great opportunity for you to practice communication skills. Make clear observations and comments on what they are doing. This is also a good time to slip in new vocabulary words for them to learn. If you are commenting on how high they are swinging, for example, you can use different words for how impressed you might be by their new accomplishment. Associating new words with activities that your kids enjoy will only strengthen their learning abilities.
6. Let Your Child Be the Boss of the Playground
No, not in the way that will intimidate other children. But let your child be the boss of playtime. This is a time where they can choose activities and foster self-confidence. By allowing your child to be the boss during playtime, they will learn how to effectively communicate their wishes.
7. Your Best Friend, the Book!
Books have always been a great learning tool for children. This is especially true for the development of language and literacy skills. The earlier you expose your child to books, the stronger their language skills development will be. If your child is struggling with speech, invite communication about the story and pictures. Conversation combined with the tool of the book is a great way to work on development together.
8. Sing Out Loud!
Songs and rhymes will also help with literacy and speech development. Choose songs to sing together that have lyrics that your child will be attracted to. The more songs and intricate rhymes that they learn early on will be an excellent tool for their skills to develop.
9. Ease Language In
When your child learns new words, expand on them by repeating them back with adjectives. If they say the word “house”, reply “big house”, or “blue house”. Children learn language best by hearing additional descriptions about words they already know. Build upon the basics, and their language skills will be developing nicely.
10. Every Event is an Opportunity
No matter what it is you do with your child, you can turn it into a language learning activity. Pointing to things and naming them when you are at the park, or speaking about whatever you are doing in the moment, are great ways to ease language into your child’s brain. It isn’t necessary to set aside specific time just to learn language and speech. Every moment you spend together is an opportunity for you to teach them new words and phrases. If you feel that you need speech therapy for your child, don’t hesitate to contact someone about it.
If you are concerned about the development of your child’s speech or language, please call one of our long island speech pathologist experts. We will be happy to provide more tips for you or set up an appointment for a session.