As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is reaching all of their age-appropriate developmental milestones. Among them, one area that is important for all children is their speech and language skills. For most children, they are able to use single words by the age of 18 months. However, there can be instances where this may be delayed and your child could be a late talker.
To help promote speech development in your child, there are many activities that you can do at home. Giving your child opportunities to practise speech can help them learn and make progress. By incorporating these activities into your everyday routine, you can ensure that your child is on track with their communication skills.
Keep reading for more information on how you can encourage speech development at home!
How can I help my child with speech at home?
1. Play games that teach non-verbal communication
For starters, games like “I Spy” and “Charades” can give your child the chance to express ideas with words. Non-verbal communication contributes to some of the building blocks for speech production such as making eye contact and using body language. These games will serve as a useful outlet for your child to be attuned with their surroundings and make gestures to the things that interest them.
With that in mind, play that is focused on building their vocabulary can help them make connections between objects and words, fostering speech development in the process. Start small by using simple words and keep your sentences short so your child can grasp these easily. More importantly, give your child time to process information before you expect an answer - this will help their speech skills develop at their own pace.
2. Offer choices
When your child has some control over everyday tasks, they will feel more ownership over their words and communication. This can help boost confidence and encourage more speaking. You can get started by offering your child two options in what they want to wear, eat and play.
For example, ask your child if they would like to eat jam or butter toast for breakfast. Your child will feel motivated and give some thought to their choices before making a decision. Your child may respond through gestures but little by little, these are baby steps that can guide them to sound out their preferences verbally to you.
3. Narrate your everyday routines
Additionally, narrating routines to your child whilst doing them can be beneficial for your child’s language development. Whether it’s while they’re washing their hands with soap or getting ready for naptime, adding this practice can help with both the memorisation and application of words and phrases. When this is done on an everyday basis, your child can learn language skills more effectively as they hear the same words over and over again.
In fact, research has shown that children learn better when parents have read the same stories repeatedly. With a lot of repetition, this can solidify your child’s understanding of words among the things they are familiar with.
Why is speech therapy important at an early age
From conversing with your child to singing nursery rhymes, there are more things you can do on a daily basis to encourage toddler talking. However, if you have concerns about your child's speech development, consider seeking out help from a speech therapist.
Speech therapy can help identify any issues early on and apply effective techniques to help your child gradually reach their full potential in their speech and communication skills. Early intervention is crucial for ensuring optimal speech development, so don't hesitate to get started on speech therapy to provide your child with the right support.
At MindChamps Allied Care in Singapore, our private speech therapists will work with you and customise a suitable treatment plan for your child. Among our specialised strategies, one of the ways we can promote your child’s speech and language development is through Oral Motor Therapy (OMT). This approach focuses on facilitating improved jaw, lip and tongue function to help your child develop oral speech movements.