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Developing Speech and Language Skills

How can families help children develop better speech and language skills?
  • Talking with your child is the most important strategy for communication development. Don’t miss opportunities during everyday routines and activities to engage your child in conversation.  Don’t forget to listen to what your child is telling you.
  • Talk with your child about what you are doing, about what he/she is doing, about what is happening around him/her.
Children don’t have the knowledge we have.  We can develop their knowledge and language through the activities we do everyday; cooking dinner, washing clothes, household cleaning chores, getting dressed, bath time, shopping and so on.
  • Children love to play and they learn while playing. Play is a fantastic strategy for developing children’s communication skills.
  Join in with your child’s play.  Play games with your child. Talk about your child’s play with him/her. Talk about your child’s actions and your actions during play.  
  • Read a book with your child at every opportunity.
  Read books that interest your child. He/she may not show interest in a traditional story book but may enjoy looking through magazines, or advertising brochures.  Photos and photo albums also provide lots of material for talking and telling stories.   Consider where and when your child enjoys reading books; on the lounge after lunch, in bed before going to sleep, during a quiet moment anytime during the day etc.  Waiting rooms offer opportunities for sharing a book with your child.  Consider taking a book with you to the doctors surgery. When reading the book, consider how you read the book.  It’s not always necessary to read all the words in the story.  You may decide your child will enjoy the book more if you read only some of the words.  Your child may enjoy talking about the illustrations or you may choose to tell the story in your own words.  
  • Expand your child’s vocabulary.
  Use a variety of descriptive words when talking with your child;  up/down, long/short/tall, loud/soft, same/different, top/bottom, frightened, astounded, excited etc.  How would you describe a truck you see when in the car?  We usually describe it as a big truck.  We could say the truck is long, wide, tall, noisy, enormous, huge and so on.