Thursday, March 24, 2011

Encouraging Your Toddler to Speak

Simple Ways to Encourage Speech & Language Development in Your Child
Babies and toddlers learn to speak at different ages and at different paces. Some can recite a full sentence by the time they're 18 months while others are just learning to say their first word. As a mom, I was a bit nervous when my daughter was still not even saying mommy when she turned one. I sought out advice from fellow moms, her pediatrician and on the internet as well. In no time, she began adding words to her vocabulary and now I can't seem to quiet my little parrot! Increase your child's vocabulary and raise her awareness to spoken language with the following language promoting tips.
Speak To Your Child As Much As Possible
Take advantage of every single opportunity to speak to your child and introduce new words. When you're out for a drive, point out things as you drive by them. If possible, pronounce the word so your child can hear it and see your mouth move. If you're out walking the dog, point out the objects you encounter on your walk. As you're dressing him, identify each article of clothing, the color and the texture. When you prepare a meal, have your child near you and describe the ingredients. Merely speaking to your child, even if he or she doesn't immediately repeat the words back to you, will encourage language. Speaking to your child can also help him in the future. Numerous studies have been done linking spoken language to a child's IQ.
Read To Your Child Daily
Reading books to your child helps boost his vocabulary by up to 40%. Aim at reading at least 2 books per day. It doesn't matter if the book is age appropriate or not. As long as it has pictures, it will spike a child's interest. If the text is not something the child would understand, point out the objects on each page and turn the pages as you normally would when reading. Studies show that 2-year-olds who were read to frequently during childhood had advanced language skills.
Repeat, repeat, repeat! That is the way babies learn. They need to hear words several times before they can learn what it is, recall it and finally be able to say it. Don't give up if you've taught your little one where his toes are ten times. You may need to point his toes out 10 or maybe 20 more times before he'll be able to point to them when you say the word and eventually be able to say it.
Practice Giving Directions & Modeling Behavior
Encourage your child to complete simple tasks around the house. For example, if you need to throw something away, say "Please throw this away", and walk with him over to the trash can. Place the item in the trash and say, "Thank you for throwing that away." Add "We throw away things we don't need anymore" to continue to solidify the concept. When removing clothes to prepare for a bath, ask your child to put his clothes in the laundry in the same manner. By the time my daughter was 14 months, she was able to throw things in the trash, put her laundry in the laundry basket and put her toys away. Not only will this teach language but it will also teach life skills.
Narrate Daily Tasks
As you make dinner, change diapers, bathe, make a bottle, put away toys, clean the house or do anything else for that matter, describe what you're doing in short sentences. Kids may not pick up the entire sentence but they will pick up words. When you've completed the task, ask the child what you've just done. After doing it and hearing it often, he'll be able to say, at least, the key words.
Don't Give In
Many babies get in the habit of pointing to things they want and get lazy when it comes to speaking. If they want cereal, they'll walk up to the cabinet and point to it until mom gets it for them. If they don't get their wish, they'll throw a tantrum. Don't give in and just give your child whatever he's pointing to. Encourage language by asking him what he wants and saying the word to him clearly. "Cereal? You want the cereal? I can give you some cereal if you ask for it. Say cereal please."
Children have a natural interest in language and hearing human voices. Most love hearing different sounds and languages from adults and children alike. Take advantage of this and spark your child's interest to speak. Steer clear of baby talk and focus on pronunciation. As a parent, you should model correct behavior as well as correct speech. Don't worry so much about how your child pronounces it when repeating the word but instead give praise for the effort given. In no time, you'll have a babbling little wonder on your hands!
Babies have an inbuilt interest in human voices and a natural tendency to listen and to concentrate when someone is talking. You can build on this as you did when your child was a baby.

More resources


No comments:

Post a Comment