Thinking of ways to develop your child's language skills? Whether your child has a language delay, is a late talker or a typically developing child, these techniques would nevertheless be helpful for all. Try them and let me know how you go!
1. Use clear, simple speech that is easy to imitate
Children develop language by copying others. If your child is not using words to communicate (e.g. they are pointing to what they want instead of talking), you can say the word for them and encourage them to repeat after you.
2. Give your child choices
By providing your child with choices, he/she can copy either one of the given. E.g. Hold one item in each hand and say, “juice or water?”. Encourage your child to say the name of the preferred choice.
3. Show your child that you are interested in what he/she says to you Do this by repeating what he/she has said and expanding on it. E.g. If your child says, “pretty flower”, you can respond by saying, “Yes, this is a pretty flower. The flower is bright yellow. It smells good too. Does Sam want to smell the flower?”.
4. Expand on your child’s vocabulary
Do this by naming objects and describing the picture on each page of the book. State synonyms for familiar words (e.g. mummy, lady, woman) and use this new vocabulary in sentences to help your child learn it in context (e.g. bedtime, cooking, going to the doctor).
5. Expand on social and play skills through role-play
Act out typical scenarios (e.g. cooking food, bedtime, going to the doctor) with a dollhouse and its props. Do the same type of role-playing activity when playing dress-up.
6. Encourage your child to communicate in various ways (e.g. gestures, pictures, signs) other than words