Improving Language Development at Home
As a parent or caregiver, you are the most important person involved in the development of your child’s speech and language skills! After all, children learn from the people they’re surrounded by most. We only get a short amount of time weekly to work with your kids, so if you can help implement speech and language strategies at home, it would be beneficial for everyone. Luckily, speech homework does not have to interfere with any daily routines or add any extra work to your day.
As parents, we don’t want you to feel confused or overwhelmed with take home activities from speech therapy. We want you to be confident that what you’re doing is making a difference. Here are a few simple speech and language strategies you can use in your day to day routines:
Self Talk and Parallel Talk
This involves talking out loud about what you’re doing or what your child is doing. This can be done during natural everyday routines such as dressing, meal time or bathtime to help your child expand his/her vocabulary without it feeling like work!
Repeat words over and over again, in all contexts, in sentences, in phrases, by themselves! Pick a word and target it the whole day, maybe two days. Use words that are prevalent in your child’s everyday life. Research shows it takes children with language disorders a total of 36 exposures to learn a new word!
Teaching simple signs such as “give me”, “more”, “please”, etc. can help your child communicate wants and needs. Research suggests that sign language stimulates the same hemisphere of the brain that verbal language does. Education and research also state that babies who are exposed to early signs demonstrate early acquisition of verbal language skills, larger vocabularies and better receptive and expressive language skills by the time they are toddlers.
Just pause and give your child time to respond to what you’ve asked or commented on. Giving your child just 5 seconds of wait time to respond, can improve learning. It is very important that your child understand and process what is being said before they are able to respond. Often times we are guilty of making too many requests or comments, leaving kiddos to be overwhelmed with language.
Keep their Favorite Items out of Reach
Keeping favorite foods or items your child may want out of their reach, but still in sight will help encourage them to ask for what they want. This will set your child up for an opportunity to communicate with you. Create the need to communicate!
Try out some of these strategies with your little one today!
Thanks for stopping by! Let us know which strategy you found to be the most helpful for your child!
-Cassandra Schneller, MA CCC-SLP
References and Sources
Storkel, H.L., Voelmle, K., Fierro, V., Flake, K., Fleming, K.K., Romine, R.S. (2016) Interactive Book Reading to Accelerate Word Learning by Kindergarten Children With Specific Language Impairment: Identifying an Adequate Intensity and Variation in Treatment Response. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-16-0014.
Acredolo, L., Goodwyn, S., and Brown, C. A. (2000a). Impact of symbolic gesturing on early language development. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 24, 81-103.
Rowe, 1986. Journal of Teacher Education. http://www.scoe.org/blog_files/Budd%20Rowe.pdf Retrieved on 1/31/18.