Learning to speak is one of the most significant milestones that your child will eventually master. It is not only their window to communication it is an essential building block for their education. To help get them on the road to success and improve their speech try the six tips below.
Always Speak in a Calm and Neutral Tone
Children are brilliant mimics and learn to speak from those around them. To make sure that they can clearly understand what you are saying and learn how to enunciate their words properly, make sure that you speak as clearly and naturally as possible. Don't draw out or over-enunciate words that you think your child may have difficulty saying, this may cause them to draw out the word as well.
Allow Your Child to Complete Their Sentences
When your child is talking with you, let them finish their stories and sentences no matter how drawn out they may. If your child becomes hung up on a word or how to complete a sentence, allow them to work it out so that they can learn to search their own vocabulary to find the correct response. If they ask for help, it is fine to respond then, but allowing them to try to work it out on their own first will help them learn how to maintain a conversation and tell a story.
Participate in Talking Turns
Your child will need to learn not only how to speak but how conversation is used. Have them participate in talking turns where you will talk, then they will be given a cue to talk, and vice versa. This will not only teach your little one how to take turns talking, so they aren't interrupting or talking over someone, but it will also show them how to participate in a conversation.
Read With Your Child
Reading is a great way to model speech for your child and keep them engaged at the same time. As your child gets older, have them help read along with you so that they can work on their speech as well as their reading. You can also use the time after your reading session to ask your child questions about the story. Try to ask them questions that require more than a one-word response so that they can work on speaking as well as the comprehension of the story. You can also use this time to encourage your child to tell a story of their own. They will be honing their speaking techniques as well as learning how to create the different parts that go into a story.
Don't Correct Your Child While They Are Speaking
Growing up, many parents probably had their own parent stopping them to correct them for a misspoken word or a mispronunciation. While learning how to speak correctly and appropriately is important, interrupting a child while they are practising speech and beginning to master it can set them back or discourage them. Instead, if your child continually mispronounces or misuses a word, simply use the word in your own conversation with them with the proper pronunciation and meaning so that they can learn through your modelling.
Monitor Your Child's Hearing
An important step in helping your child with their speech is making sure that their hearing is healthy. Ear infections, significant amounts of ear wax, and shape problems with the ear canal can cause your children to have difficulty hearing. If your child cannot hear correctly, it will be hard for them to properly form their words. Make sure your child's hearing is regularly checked and treat ear infections as soon as they occur.
By utilising the six ways to improve your child's speech listed above, you will help them to be successful in their speech journey and also give them the confidence they need to accomplish their communication goals.