5 Ways To Encourage Your Child’s Language Development

  1. Get up close and personal

    Get down at your child’s level. Face to face to where your child can see you. Your child should be able to see your mouth moving, watch your facial expressions and make eye contact. Don’t stand over your child looking down at him or her while they are playing nor be engaged in other household duties while talking to your child. Put whatever you’re doing down and sit down, across from your child and play.

  2. Be a Narrator

    Children are not born with a vocabulary. So they look to us to provide it. It’s our job to give children words to help them label the things around them and the things that they do. That’s where narration is helpful. Most parents already do this to a certain extent. Play with your child and verbally narrate what they are doing. “You have the big red ball!” “You’re drinking yummy juice!” “Uh Oh! You dropped it.” A little of this goes a long way. When I suggest this to parents I often see them flood the child with verbal information. Remember, your child needs a few moments to process things and you’ll eventually want to give them a chance to talk!

  3. Speak Parentese

    Go ahead and be silly. Speak slower, with a higher pitch, make it sing song and over exaggerate what you say. Keep grammar correct and intact, but make your sentences shorter and easier for your little one to process.

  4. Imitate

    Imitation is fundamental to learning. So when your children are beginning to make noises and babble, imitate them. Babble right back. They will undoubtedly be thrilled and will also begin to learn that communication is a two person process. Give your child a chance to say something (even if it’s ba ba ba ba) and let them develop the turn-taking skills necessary for verbal communication.

  5. Interpret

    As a parent I understand that this may be the most difficult! However, we can get what our children are saying to us most of the time. A child with emerging language will often give us short, grammatically incorrect utterances that would be incomprehensible to anyone other than you. When you know what your child is saying, repeat it back to them in a simple grammatically correct utterance for your child.

If you have any questions about your child’s speech or language development, please feel free to call our office at 254-630-1186 and we will be happy to speak with you.

Jason Miller