8 Ways to Encourage Your Toddler’s Speech Development
Parents play a crucial role in a child’s speech development. Singapore studies have shown that those children who are spoken with and read to a great deal during their early years will have better grammar and larger vocabularies compared to those who have less. As parents, here are some simple ways to help your child’s speech development.
- Talk to your child, even if he can’t understand you yet.
Narrate to your child what’s currently happening. For instance, tell your child, “Now we’ll take bath. Is the water warm? After this, we’ll get dressed and stroll at the park.” Small talks like this encourage your child to listen and mimic the sounds he hears from you.
- Read him more books.
It’s never too early to read to your infant. A good predictor of future language success is the amount of time parents spent reading to their child. You can start with board books, and then move to picture boards and longer stories as your child gets older. Story times at a Singapore library can also help your toddler develop a love for reading.
- Give your child some ‘space’ to talk…
It’s natural to feel the urge to talk when your child doesn’t respond promptly. However, it’s also important to give your toddler some time to ponder and express what he wants to say. When you ask your child a question or noticed that your child want something, pause for a few seconds while looking at him expectantly. Once you notice any body movement or sound, respond to him promptly. Your response helps your toddler to feel encouraged to communicate.
- …But don’t finish his sentence.
Do respond promptly when you see signs of response from your child, but do not finish his sentence just because you noticed that he’s struggling with words. By finishing his sentence, you’re not encouraging your little one healthy, independent conversational skill. Your child may think that they should let other people do the talking for them. positively reinforce your child’s achievement after getting stuck for a few minutes by telling them things like, “Wow, you’re a good speaker.”
- Simplify the use of language.
Doing this helps your child follow what you are saying. It also makes it easier for him to imitate speech. If your child still doesn’t know how to talk speak in single words (if he’s playing with a ball, say ‘ball’ or ‘roll.’) If your toddler is speaking mostly in single words, speak with him in short phrases, such as ‘throw ball’ or ‘roll ball.’ The key here is to use the one-up rule: Use phrases that has one more word than your child often uses.
- Do the talking turns.
Getting into conversation is traditionally hard for a child who stutters, and managing multiple conversational partners can be overwhelming for your little tot. However, you can model conversational turns in the family. Encourage conversations within siblings (or one or both parents) to encourage taking turns when talking. For example, you can do this as a form of game where each person has their own turn. Start by telling your child something like this: “First, it’s Ara’s talking turn, then it’ll be your talking turn.” To prompt a child that’s interrupting a conversation, you can say, “I can see you have something to tell dad, but it’s my talking turn right now. After me, it’s your talking turn with dad.”
- Help your child organize stories.
Help your little kid organize their story by structuring it through questions (what, where, who, etc.) “Mommy wants to hear this story. Let’s start this together. Who’s in this story?… Where did this story happen?… Okay I would love to hear more. What happens now?…” Also, help structure sequence by using first-then statements. “The first part of the story is… And then…” This way, you’re encouraging your child to analyze and talk more.
- Show your child you enjoy talking with him.
Smile and reinforce your child’s willingness to share ideas and communicate with you. Even if your toddler isn’t fluent yet, help them enjoy talking and show appreciation for what they have achieved. If your child tells you a story and got really stuck in the middle of his story, you can still reinforce communication by saying something like, “I love listening to your stories” or “Wow! That’s a good story. I’m happy you told me about that.”
Using these simple tricks that necessitates your little ones to communicate will encourage your child’s speech development. However, keep in mind that these things should be done with love and patience. When your child feels that he’s appreciated and loved despite the mistakes, it will give him confidence to continue the process.
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