Children's language development is influenced by their environment, they learn the words they hear often from others around them and are more likely to use words that are highly reinforced.
Here are some tips to encourage your child's language development at home:
- Talk about what you are doing - Provide a running commentary for your child about what you're doing, whether it be changing their nappy or hanging out the washing. Pairing words with activities in their routine will support their understanding and language development.
- Use affect - Your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language add meaning to what you are saying and draw your child's attention to the language you are using.
- Use sound play - Animal noises and vehicle noises make play fun, as well as drawing your child into the interaction.
- Read - Reading books together is a great way to support vocabulary building, attention and listening skills and two-way communication. Choose books with colourful pictures that your child can point to and talk about.
- Engage in two-way interactions - Conversations start early, respond to your child's babble, sound play and words to support the development of two-way communication. Respond to your child's interaction and then pause to let them respond.
- Vocabulary expansion - Increase vocabulary by adding a new word to words your child already knows, they might point and say "ball", you could say "Yes, it's a red ball".
- Remodel - If your child makes a mistake or an error in what they say, remodel it for them with the correct word/sound/sequence rather than ask them to repeat it.
- Reduce questions - Young children can find lots of questions challenging, this is exacerbated in children with language delays. Try to reduce your questions and if your child is finding it tricky to answer questions, give them two choices, you could try "What would you like to eat? Banana or apple?"
Speak to your Speech Therapist about other ways to support your child's language development.