How to Develop Your Child’s Speech with Play

“Not all children are ready to learn the same thing at the same time in the same way.”
– Kathy Walker

It is important not to compare children with speech and language difficulties. Many times when a child does not begin to speak parents become concerned and panic. The first step when you notice your child is not speaking is to set up a speech and language evaluation or speak to your pediatrician.

10 tips to help your child develop their speech through play:

  1. Practice makes perfect. Many children are reluctant to speak so it is important to engage them in meaningful play activities to encourage them.
  2. 1 on 1 play time is very important. Make a routine with your child ( daily for 30 minutes a day) to sit down and talk to your child. It is also important to minimize distractions.
  3. Pay close attention to your child’s interests and use their interests to engage them. I.e. if your child is really into cars it is important to use words that relate to cars
  4. Use clear, concise sentences that are directly related to the play. Do not use complex overloaded sentences that will confuse your child. ” The car says beep”, ” the car fell down”, ” the car will stop”, “the car will go”. Make sure to model while the toy is performing the action.
  5. Give you child a chance to respond. Often parents will not give a moment to their child to respond. It is vital to provide your child with this time in order to respond. Allow at least 10 seconds for your child in order for them to respond.
  6. Find new and engaging ways to play. For instance, find other toys they are interested in such as bubbles. Use appropriate (short, clear, concise) when using the new toy.
  7. Try to target the sound your child is having difficulty with. For instance, if your child is having trouble saying very and says “WERY” make sure to target this word throughout play. Build a very very very large building to model the sound.
  8. Repeat. Always repeat what your child attempts to say clearly and correctly so they can hear how their speech should sound. You can also expand on what your child says.
  9. Praise. Always praise your child and stay positive. Acknowledge their hard work.
  10. Be patient. Remember that all children learn at their own pace. Do not become anxious around your child or place demands that are too high. Just remember to give them time and not expect things to happen over night.



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