Ideas on How to Increase Overall Speech and Language Development in the Home Environment

-Talking to your child is the most important thing that you can do for them! Use everyday routines and events to help your child learn language. Narrate your day for them, talk about EVERYTHING that you are doing. Your child is looking to you as their model therefore; what you say and how you say it has such an impact on their speech and language development.

Here are a few ideas on how to increase your child’s overall speech and language development:
– Establish eye contact early on. Eye contact is the earliest means of communication. You can establish eye contact by sitting face to face with your child while you are speaking to them, hold desired objects close to your face to gain their attention and praise them for looking at you, verbally ask them to look at you and don’t forget to praise them for looking at you (EX: “nice looking at mommy”).

– Make everyday situations a learning experience. Children are sponges and pick up on everything that they see and hear. Remember to talk/narrate your day for them (EX: “Mommy is pouring your milk”, “I am opening the door”, “Look at the red apple”).

– Sign language can help many children learn to talk/communicate. The use of signs will not stop your child from talking; it will only help decrease their frustrations from not being able to verbally communicate. Always pair your voice with the use of signs. Eventually when your child’s expressive language skills increase they will fade the use of signs and rely on their verbalizations to communicate.
– Over-articulate your speech when you are speaking to your child so they can hear each sound you are producing (EX: “Let’s read a booK,” “Put on your haT,” “PoP the bubble.”
– Improve your child’s listening skills by teaching your child how to receive, understand and use the information that they hear. Teach them to listen with their “eyes” and their “ears.” Let them know how important it is to look at someone when they are speaking.  Teach them that you hear with your ears, but you LISTEN with your ears and your eyes!
Quiz them daily on their listening skills by implementing the following ideas:
  1. Give them multi-step directions to follow (EX: “Go to your room and get your shoes,”
“Pick up the ball and the car and put it in the box.”).
  1. Ask them recall questions throughout the day (EX: “We are going to the store to buy milk, apples and some bread. –What are we buying at the store?” “Your sister went to her Soccer game but she forgot to bring her cleats.”- Where did your sister go?”)
– Read to them! It is never too early to start. Children learn that pictures can be clues about the story and when they hear new words they expand their world by developing new thinking skills. Set aside time each day to read with your child and explore the endless possibilities.

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