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Facilitating Your Toddler's Speech, Language and
1. Talk to your child every day about EVERYTHING! Everyday activities such as checking the mailbox, taking a bath, or eating dinner provide great settings for conversation. For example, in the grocery store talk about each food item you choose from the shelf. Say “bananas go in the cart,” and encourage your child to imitate the entire phrase or just a word. This activity can be used in almost every daily activity. Repeating these conversations each day bombards your child with language.
2. Slow down when speaking to your child. Talk to your child in sentences while emphasizing the main words in the sentence. Take time to work and play with your child.
3. Eyes on me ensures your child can see your face when you are speaking. Get down on his level and make eye contact. This helps your child focus on you and your message.
4. Play ball by playing with intent, offering open ended and cause/effect toys to encourage play and exploration. Provide your child with simple phrases to guide her during play.
5. Let’s read books together. Point, label, and ask questions.
6. Be patient by waiting for your child to respond when you ask a question. Young children often need more time to process spoken information.
7. Have fun using bubbles, horns, and whistles to exercise his facial muscles and produce air flow.
8. Mirror, mirror on the wall can enable your child to see her lips, cheeks, and tongue during play and speech.
9. Simon says will encourage your child to follow verbal directions during play. This increases receptive language skills which may later increase expressive language.
10. Hooray!!! Finally, praise your child for his efforts. Your child is learning new skills each and every day. Today he may move his mouth in imitation of your face, tomorrow he may produce a word approximation, and the next he may surprise you with a full word. Applauding your child’s attempts to communicate encourages and motivates more speech and establishes a pattern for successful learning.
Katie Wilbanks Stafford, CCC-SLP