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How Parents can Stimulate Language at Home

Here are some simple ways that you, as parents, can help to stimulate and faciliate language at home.  Give it a try!
 
 
  •   Be a good speech model.  Children learn through observation and imitation. Try to demonstrate good speech and language patterns rather than correct speech or language errors.

 

  •   Make language visual. Talk about what the child can see. It is important to label objects and actions that the child can readily see so that the child can pair language with a real experience. This practice can also be reinforcing as it allows the child to observe the consequence or result of language use.

 

  •   Communicate at your childs level: Be aware of your child’s language abilities. Then, talk with the child at, or just above that level. Keep comments simple and direct (avoid “Baby Talk”).

 

  •   Follow your child’s lead. Observe what your child is doing. Provide comment or commentary about what your child is paying attention to or experiencing at that particular moment. This practice helps to make language more meaningful for your child.

 

  •   Create opportunities to use language.  Does your child need to use words in order to communicate? Many of the questions we ask our children may require only a simple yes/no or pointing response. To increase the need to verbally communicate, try asking a question that requires a verbal response (i.e. “What would you like to drink?”). To increase the likelihood of a verbal answer, model a target response (i.e. “You’re thirsty. Would you like a cup of Juice or water?”). Encourage, rather than demand imitation.

 

  •   Expect more from your child. Using language expansion techniques, try to build upon your child’s utterances.

 

  •   Communication should be fun and rewarding! Play games or plan activities that encourage verbal interaction. Play games in which your child needs to ask you for something (i.e. Go Fish). Another activity might be drawing a face with you asking your child for directions, “What do I draw next?” These activities foster turn taking and cooperation which are important for both language and social development.

 

  •   Take advantage of language stimulation opportunities in everyday living events. Talk about what you are doing, what you see, and where you are going.

 

  •   Refrain from interrupting you child during his speech attempts, or telling him to slow down or start over, as that may break up his speech fluency.

 

  •   When discussing stories, ask for specific information or details; this shows the child you expect good listening during the story. When reading stories, ask the child to predict what happens next.

 

  •   Children like to play “bigger kid” games; simplify the rules, and let them manipulate the tokens according to your new set of rules.

 

  •   Use snack and meal times to increase vocabulary by talking about how things taste and using actions words about eating (suck, eat, sip, gobble).

 

  •   Use good speech that is clear and simple for your child to model.

 

  •   Use baby talk only if needed to convey the message and when accompanied by the adult word. "It is time for din-din. We will have dinner now."

 

  •   Make a scrapbook of favorite or familiar things by cutting out pictures. Group them into categories, such as things to ride on, things to eat, things for dessert, fruits, things to play with.

 

  •   Create silly pictures by mixing and matching pictures. Glue a picture of a dog behind the wheel of a car. Talk about what is wrong with the picture and ways to "fix" it. Count items pictured in the book.

 

  •   Help your child understand and ask questions. Play the yes-no game. Ask questions such as "Are you a boy?" "Are you Marty?" "Can a pig fly?" Encourage your child to make up questions and try to fool you.

 

  •   Ask questions that require a choice. "Do you want an apple or an orange?" "Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?"

 

  •   Expand vocabulary. Name body parts, and identify what you do with them. "This is my nose. I can smell flowers, brownies, popcorn, and soap."

 

  •   Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes to show the rhythm and pattern of speech.

 

  •   Place familiar objects in a container. Have your child remove the object and tell you what it is called and how to use it. "This is my ball. I bounce it. I play with it."

 

  • Use photographs of familiar people and places, and retell what happened or make up a new story.