Early Language Development: 3 Ways to Encourage Speech

Walter_de_Maria_Vertikaler_ErdkilometerEarly speech and language skills can be essential to a child’s social, cognitive, and academic development. However, some parents may notice that their child is not communicating in the same way as their peers or siblings. Although a speech-language pathologist can evaluate your child to make sure there are no larger issues and provide therapy to improve speech and communication, there are also things you can do at home to encourage language and communication development. Take a look at our three tips below!

Narrate: To help your child connect language to real-word events and ideas, narrate as you go about your daily routine. This can be especially important for younger or language-delayed children. For example, during bath time you might say, “I’m putting soap in your hair. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Now we wash it out. All clean!”

Repeat and Expand: Another way to help your child increase their language output is to repeat phrases they say and then expand with more language. For example, if your child says, “Nice doggy,” you might say, “Yes! Nice doggy. Nice soft doggy. What a good doggy.”

Keep It Simple: Some parents tend to talk to their children like tiny adults, and worry that “baby talk” will stunt their development. Although children can typically understand more than they can say, it’s actually helpful to use language that is just slightly above your child’s level. If your child is using two-word questions and phrases, you can increase your level by also using two-word phrases, but incorporating new vocabulary. You could also stick with words within your child’s vocabulary, but use 3-4 word phrases to model increased complexity. This give your child a roadmap of where to go next with their language.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2016, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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