Encouraging Language at Home
One question we're frequently asked is: How do I help my child to use language at home?
Here are some helpful methods that can be used at home.
● Don’t anticipate your child’s needs. In other words, don’t just do it. Let them try to communicate what they want by using words or even gestures. Give choices often!
● Speak slowly while using short, easy-to-understand vocabulary and phrases.
● Repeat words and phrases often. Label everything in their environment.
● Use an animated voice and change inflection often.
● When you are saying words, get on their level. Children will often look at your face and mouth to see how you speak.
● Praise them for trying to say new words. Positive reinforcement is a terrific thing!
● Sing with your child.
● If they do say a word incorrectly, applaud them and then model the correct pronunciation.
● Create a stimulating child-friendly environment, but not too overwhelming. Have only few toys available that promote language development and expansion and place them at higher levels that way they need to ask for it versus independently retrieving it.
○ Examples include: a kitchen set, a farmhouse, a baby with a bottle/blanket, cars and simple puzzles are wonderful tools!
Deanna Jannicelli Corby, MS, CCC-SLP is the Director of Speech and Language Pathology at the Pediatric Therapy Center of NJ.