Children develop at their own pace, but it’s a wonderful feeling when your child says their first words and starts building their vocabulary and conversational skills. They’re able to better express their needs, emotions, and thoughts. From the time your child is very young, you can start setting them up for better speech and language development through activities you do every day.
- Keep Talking to Them
Even if your child is too young to respond with words, talk to them throughout the day. Simply hearing the back and forth of conversation and the variety of words you use exposes them to a more stimulating environment. Talk about what you’re doing and what they’re doing – “I’m washing my hands,” “You’re kicking your legs,” or “You picked up the green block.”
- Model Simple Sentences
As you’re talking, use basic language and encourage your child to repeat phrases back to you. Ask simple questions and praise them for responding. Also practice correct pronunciation of sounds and words while keeping in mind that some sounds develop later. (For instance, making “w” sound instead of an “l” or “r” for a while – “wollipop” versus “lollipop” or “wead” instead of “read.”)
- Play Fun Games with Words
Match up objects with colors or animals with sounds. Show your child a cow and ask what sound it makes. Ask them to find the ball. As they become more familiar with numbers and colors, you can ask for the yellow ball, or three blocks. It’s great to make associations between words and their meaning. You can also start giving them choices between objects or activities and encouraging a response that shows they understand what you’re talking about.
- Explore New Environments
Take your child to the store, the park, the zoo, the city, a festival, or a farm. Introduce them to words and phrases associated with these locations or activities to broaden their vocabulary. It can be easier to learn new words in context.
Acknowledge and praise your child for attempting to speak. Even if they don’t get something exactly right, show you understand what they are saying or asking. Most of all, keep practicing. Keep talking to your child and immersing them in a stimulating world of conversation. If you are concerned about your child’s language development, schedule a consultation at PediaPlex to identify potential problems and explore the benefits of speech therapy.
Is your child struggling with speech or communication skills? Turn to PediaPlex for evaluation and therapy options.