Pediatric speech therapy is a great resource for children who experience language development delays throughout different stages of their growth. This month we celebrate better hearing and speech month. In honor of this, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can help your child with their language development.
As parents, you play a critical role in your child’s overall development. Speech included! Research shows that children who are read to during early childhood will have a larger vocabulary and better grammar than those who aren’t. If your child is struggling with language development, these tricks can help improve their skills. And, pediatric speech therapy is a great asset to children who still seem to struggle despite your best efforts to help.
Check out these ways you can nurture your child’s language development. But, remember! If your little one is showing signs of speech delay, do not panic. Many children speak at their own pace. And, there are many ways pediatric speech therapy can help any developmental delays your child may face. So, sit back, relax, and give these tricks a try. And, if you still have concerns, set up an evaluation with a pediatric speech therapy specialist to explore more ways you can help that little one!
Top Tips to Help Your Child’s Language Development
There are many simple things you can do as a parent to help your child’s language development. These tricks can be added into your daily routine without taking up much time or changing your schedule. Start by adding one or two changes, and work your way up.
1. Speak to Your Children A LOT!
One of the most common pieces of advice pediatric speech therapy professionals give is to talk, talk, talk! Even if it seems like the language you are using is well beyond your child’s comprehension, talking to them regularly can greatly enhance their language development. Tell them about your day. Talk to them about things you are doing, like where you are driving in the car or what you have planned for the day. The more you talk, the better it is for your child.
2. Read EVERY day.
Your child is never too young for reading. In fact, many people read out loud during pregnancy. Reading is not only helpful for speech development, it gives you extra time to bond with your child. You can start with simple board books or pop-up books and move along the age appropriate spectrum as they begin to interact and comprehend. Your local library or bookstore may have story time. This is also a great opportunity to enhance your child’s language and give them time with other children.
3. Play some tunes!
Music is a great resource for people of all ages, especially children. Pediatric speech therapy sessions often incorporate music to help children learn the rhythm of language. Sing nursery rhymes and age-appropriate songs, or just turn up the music in the car and sing along.
4. Make it an Adventure!
A great way to add to your child’s language is to create learning experiences for them. Pack up some snacks and bring the family on a trip. Head to the zoo, the aquarium, or a local children’s museum. We have some great museums all across Connecticut! Here are some examples. These places can open a whole new world of learning to your child. And, they are fun for adults, too!
5. Use your imagination.
You are never too old to make up your own stories. Your kids will love it, and they will benefit from it too! Come up with your own characters. Tell a story about an adventure similar to something you’ve done together in your everyday lives. Add your child’s likes or interests to the story to make it really “speak” to them!
6. Let your little one lead the way.
Sometimes, the best way to help with language development is to encourage your children when they are interested in something. If your child sparks interest in something, use it as a tool to help them use their minds. Talk about their interest. Show them similar things that relate to what you’re talking about. Ask questions, even if you know they won’t know the answer. Interacting with your children over something that they really love is a great way to encourage them.
7. Never scold or criticize their efforts.
There may be some days when your child is not articulating properly. They may also have irregular speech patterns. Remember, it will be ok. Many children grow out of these incorrect language usages and pediatric speech therapy is there for the ones that tend to stick around. If your child uses incorrect pronunciation or word usage, repeat their statements back with the correct words or usage, but don’t criticize their efforts. Your little one needs LOTS of praise!
8. Check with your pediatrician.
While some children outgrow their language development delays, and some need pediatric speech therapy for added assistance, some kids have a medical condition that causes their struggles. Ear infections, in particular, can wreak havoc on your little one’s hearing and speech. Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns. A simple check of the ears might be the answer you need to help your child’s hearing and speech.
Pediatric Speech Therapy Tips for New Parents
Even if your little one isn’t at the stage where talking happens, you may already be thinking about how you can help with language development. Many new parents, and veteran parents, are looking for pediatric speech therapy tips on how to stay on top and even get ahead of their child’s language development.
Babies watch every move you make. And they love to try to mimic you! There’s something extra special about the first moments you hear your little one babble. You wonder what their voice will sound like as they grow. You wonder what they are thinking. And you wonder what you need to do to help them be the most successful little humans around.
If your baby is beginning to babble, here is a list of 10 words you can teach them at the beginning stages of their language development:
- All Done
- Uh oh
And, as we mentioned earlier, talk and read as much as you can! You never know what they will pick up on along the way.
Your little one is a super special human being. As parents, we all want our special human beings to have the best things in life. And, we want to be the ones who give it to them. Sometimes little ones just need a little extra time to find their way. These tips and tricks can help encourage your son or daughter in their language development. And, pediatric speech therapy is there to help along the way if your child needs a little extra.
Wherever you are on your language development journey with your child, remember one thing. Every child is unique and learns at their own pace and in their own way. And, you are doing great at helping them along their unique path!