1. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Repetition is truly the key when it comes to picking up a language. Just as we need to hear a new word a few times before we truly understand what it means and how to use it, children require the same. Using the same word in a different context such as identifying a car outside and a picture of a car will help your child to solidify the concept of the word, especially with children who struggle with attention and may need to see the object physically in a form that attracts them.
2. Take turns and build on what has already been said
When we are hoping to get a child to interact, we often bombard them with questions, this can be overwhelming and most likely lead to a stunned silence. Instead wait for your child to point out something interesting to them and build on what they say e.g. if your child says car when they see a toy car you can model back a slightly longer phrase like ‘red car’ or push the car and say ‘car go’.
3. Use, interpret and respond to non verbal language
We can do the same for children who don’t yet speak by interpreting their body language e.g if your child points to the car, we build on this communicative intent by elaborating on the gesture and saying ‘car’. It is important to not only lookout for this communicative intent but also model with gesture by pointing and showing the object to the child as we say the word.
4. Slow down and stress key words
When using longer sentences especially, slow down your speech and stress the words that are important within the sentence. They may not necessarily be the most important words in the sentence; instead, they are the words that you are trying to teach. For instance in the example where the child says ‘car’ and you say ‘red car’, you want to stress the word red as the child is already familiar with the word car.
Most importantly, make it fun, so your child enjoys the experience and wants to interact with you more. This ensures that the learning continues and their language will flourish.
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about language activities, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.