Activities to Build Your Child’s Speech & Language Skills by Kathleen E. Mahn
Frances Page Glascoe, Ph.D.*
1. TALK, TALK, TALK.
Describe what your child is doing as he does it. “You’re smiling.”
Talk about how she might be feeling. “You’re happy because you have your favorite toy.”
Name people. “Look! There’s your sister.”
Name everyday objects. “Bottle.” “Juice.” “Bed.” “Diaper."
Mention features of objects. “That ball is red and it’s big. It is a big red ball.”
Talk about sounds around you and imitate them – a cat’s meow, a dog’s bark, bacon sizzling.
Sing songs and say nursery rhymes
2. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Conversations have two sides. Follow your child’s lead and talk about things she brings up.
Give her a chance to label things. “Oh, you’re thirsty.” “You want a drink.” “What do you want?”
Give a young child examples. “There’s the orange juice. Mmmm – this orange juice tastes good.”
Give an older toddler choice. “Do you want juice or milk?”
A young child may say only part of a sentence, such as: “Want truck.” You can expand on this and answer: “OK, you want the big truck” or “Here is the big yellow truck. It carries dirt. Va-room!”
3. READ, READ, READ. Start reading to your child early, even though he may be too young to understand what you are saying. This helps him learn that reading is fun!
Early on let your child explore the books as she wants to. Use cloth books or action books like Pat the Bunny.
Encourage your child to name the pictures. “What’s that?” “What do you think will happen next?” “Look, the bunny ate the carrots.”
4. EXPLORE, EXPLORE, EXPLORE.
Go places – the grocery store, the gas station, the park, the library….
Talk about it all.
Ask your child what he sees, what his favorite things were, and why.
5. DO, DO, DO.
Let your child help do things for himself. “We have to get dressed.” “Go get your (new) (black) (tennis) shoes.”
Let your child help you do things and talk about them while you are doing them. “Let’s wash the dishes.” “I’m getting the sponge.” “I’m putting soap on it.” “Now there’s soap on the sponge.” “Can you turn on the water?"
Meal and bath times are great opportunities for sharing conversation with your child.
Keep natural eye contact while your child is talking.
Listen patiently. Respond to the message rather than the way your child says it.
Set a good example. Speak slowly and without rushing.
Spend time every day with your child, conversing in an unhurried, relaxed way.
Talking is special and fun.
Praise your child’s efforts to talk. Don’t correct grammar. Just repeat her sentence with a grammatically correct example.
Use other natural cues when talking and listening. Facial expressions, gestures and body language communicate a lot.
Repeat main ideas frequently and in different ways.
If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, discuss it with your child’s doctor or a speech-language pathologist.
Talking and communicating are natural things. Just do it!
*Kathleen E. Mahn is Speech-Language Pathologist in the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. Frances Page Glascoe is Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University and Penn State University, also the developer of the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status screening tool – usually referred to as “PEDS.” This article, the third of a five-part series, Tips for Parent, is reproduced with permission of the authors.
Enter the portlet content here.....