Ridge Zeller Therapy's, Nadia Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP, shares activity-oriented tips for parents to encourage a child's speech-language development:
Listening is just as important as talking.
Addressing receptive language (what your child understands) is just as important as what they are saying. You can simply have them point to pictures you name in a book or choose named objects. Some kids are like sponges that don’t like to clean ☺ they are soaking up all the information coming at them but just won’t talk!
Sometimes they need more time, but if you are truly concerned with their speech and language skills follow up with your pediatrician or your local speech language pathologist.
Here are some great and inexpensive activities which encourage language development at home. Have fun with your little ones!
Use sidewalk chalk to embrace your inner Picasso! Draw a variety of pictures for your little one to label and/or ask them to draw things for you.
Using a variety of descriptive words and concepts will expand their vocabulary. For example, you can say “Mommy is making a big, striped, tiger! Can you draw a hat on the Tiger’s head?”
Outside - Use your sidewalk, driveway, or concrete walls.
Inside - Use a cardboard box or a chalkboard if you have one.
If you have extra time: Use stencils or have a variety of items available for you and your child to draw.
Language tip: Use describing words such as big, little, yellow, blue, etc.
Money/Time saving tip: Stock up on sidewalk chalk at your local dollar store, dollar section at Target
Bath time can be a great time to work on your child’s language skills! By simply talking about what you are doing during a bath, you are introducing new vocabulary. You can really increase what they are learning by adding some fun bath toys. Some toys I’ve used and think are great include, foam animals, tub stickers, and any item that can be used for pouring and squirting.
0-1 year old - Use bath vocabulary to describe what you are doing (rinsing, scrubbing, shampoo, body parts, etc.). When they are old enough to be sitting in the tub, show them different objects and name them 2-3 times. If your child is pointing, you can hold up two objects and have them point to the one you name.
1-3 year olds - Label objects then ask “what’s this?”. If your child can name all of the objects, start adding some describing words such as “blue whale” and “big boat”. If they’re not yet ready for naming objects, have them grab or point to what you describe “where’s the red crab?”. Describe your actions “I’m scrubbing your toes” and let them copy your actions “your turn to pour out the water”.
3-5 year olds - The above mentioned tips can still be used with this age but adding some pretend play can help expand their language. For example: “let’s be pirates today, which toys should we capture?”
Language tip: Talking to your child during bath time will help them learn new words even if they aren’t old enough or ready to repeat words.
Money/Time saving tip: Simple bath toys from the dollar store can be just as effective as the other items mentioned, just be sure to get a variety and to change up what you do with them.
What fun new vocabulary did your child learn in the bath today?