Last month, we shared lots of ideas on how to support your child's language in different everyday activities. You may have noticed a few common strategies running through them. In this post, we thought we would recap these so you can apply them to your own daily activities that we may not have covered. Trying to set aside at least 10-15 minutes a day of 'Special Talking Time' can really make a difference to your child's communication development!
1. Get down to your child's level. It's so important for you to be near your child while they play, rather than speaking to them from across the room or from a chair where they can't see your face. This helps them pay better attention to what you are doing and saying and pick up on non-verbal communication such as facial expressions more easily.
2. Comment on what your child is doing using short phrases and simple language. Talk about what your child is looking at or playing with helps them learn new words and link them to the objects they can see. Use 1-3 words at a time to make it easier for them to pick them up.
3.Add a word. Once your child starts talking, add a word to what they have said. For example:
Adult: Blue car
This will help them to start putting words together and start to use longer phrases.
4.Wait for your child to talk first. Wait and listen and respond to what your child says and respond as explained in 2 & 3. If they are not talking yet, wait for them interaction non-verbally, such as pointing or looking. Give them time to talk.
5. Don't ask too many questions. Instead, support your child to learn by naming what they see. Try for a ratio of 4 comments to 1 question. This will help your child learn new words.
6. Let your child choose the toy. Playing with something they want to play with helps their attention and makes learning language fun!
7. Follow their lead. Play along with your child's play ideas and add to it. For example, if they are making the doll drink some tea, add an idea by making them eat or by sharing the tea with other toys/people. It's ok if they are playing with the toy in a different way than it is supposed to be used!
8. Reduce background noise and distractions from technology. Turn off TVs, radios and phones! This will help you and your child focus on play and will make a huge difference to how much they learn.
If you're concerned about your child's communication development, give us a call and we will be happy to chat them through with you! We offer mobile therapy in and around the Inner West.