There are many quick and easy ways to encourage your child’s speech and language development on a daily basis. Consistently working a skill is the best way to master that skill! Here are 6 tips on how to include speech and language-building activities in your day-to-day routine:
- Spend 40 minutes just “playing“ with your child everyday. Use simple words such as “Fast car!” or “Red ball”.
- Put some things out of reach that you know your child will want. For example, you could put away their favorite book or toy. This will push them to ask you for help when they want it. Teach them to come get you and lead you by the hand to what they want. Make sure to name the item several times while reaching for it and giving it to your child; this reinforces the use of speech to get what they want.
- Be patient with your child. Ask a question and WAIT for them to respond. It is easy to just move on when your child takes too long to respond, but it is important for you to get down to their level and WAIT! Give them the chance to respond, and also make them understand how important it is to respond. So when you want them to do something, WAIT to see if they can do it, instead of just doing it for them.
- Praise your child’s efforts! Positive reinforcement is critical to build your child’s confidence and skills. If they say anything, make a big deal about it by saying “yay” or clapping. Be sure to immediately give your child what they asked for to reinforce the power of language.
- Use routines as a way to play and foster language. For example, during bath time talk about everything you are doing as you are doing it. If your child loves bubbles, bring some bubbles to the bathtub. Play with the bubbles; repeat the word “bubbles” numerous times. When the bubbles are gone, see if he/she will request more bubbles. You can assist them by saying “Do you want more bubbles?” Discuss the bubbles: “Wow look at all of these bubbles, big bubbles, little bubbles”. You can ask your child to say bubbles, but don’t push the issue and don’t worry if they don’t respond.
- Model using language by asking your child a question and helping out with the answer. For example, if you know they want bubbles, you can ask “do you want bubbles?” Then you can tell them how to ask for bubbles, even if they do not repeat it –“Bubbles please”. You can then hand your child the bubbles and say “here are the bubbles”.
These activities may seem very simple, but if done consistently, they can be very effective.