Tips for parents to encourage their child’s speech and language development

  • Use simple language: Use short, repetitive, simple language with an interesting voice. (“Kick the ball", “Pretty red shoes”)
  • Copy your child: Copy what your child says rather than always expecting them to copy you. Copy sound and word attempts and actions
  • Use gestures: Obvious signs used as you speak will direct his attention and help her understanding
  • Give simple choices: Present him with simple choices. Hold up two cuddly toys, or two pieces of food for him to choose from
  • Give simple instructions. (“Give me your dolly”, “Put this in the bin”)
  • Talk in routines: Saying and doing the same things in everyday situations such as bathing, nappy changing, book reading, and going in the car. This makes language repetitive and predictable * so children can join in
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat: Choose some key words / sounds to focus on especially common words used in the daily routine
  • Sing repetitive songs and rhymes: Such as the ones in your Sookie & Finn DVD (e.g. “This is the way we wash our face”; “Row, row, row your boat”; “Twinkle twinkle little star)”
  • Use a variety of words, not just the names of things: Also talk about what people are doing and what things are. Remember action words and descriptive words, too
  • Expand what your child says. If he or she says, “More juice,” you say, “Finn wants more juice.”
  • Follow your child’s lead: Talk to him about what he is doing or looking at. This helps him match language to his world
  • Match your child’s speech in length and complexity. (“Eat?” “Eat raisins?”)
  • Narrate what you are doing in your daily routines: ("Let’s take a bath now”, “We are walking in the park”)
  • Read books every day, perhaps as part of the bedtime routine
  • Ask questions to get your child to think and talk
  • Wait for a response: Leave pauses and short silences for your child to fill. Pause so your child has a chance to understand and talk back to you
  • Positive talking: Make no demands to talk or “say it”, only offer encouragement