Simple ways to encourage language development
- Get down to the child’s physical level and gain his/her attention. (i.e. Kneel down in front of your child and touch his/her face.)
- Talk to your child.
- Describe objects in your child’s environment. (Use props when they are available). i.e. “Red ball” (hold up ball), “Zawar’s truck” (hold up truck)
- Describe what is happening. i.e. “Daddy’s cooking”, “Dog barking”
- Describe what you or your child is doing. i.e. “Pouring juice”, “Change Sumaya’s diaper”
- Use short simple sentences. i.e. “Jacket on”. “Arms in”. “Zipper up”.
- Use lots of repetition. Stress important words. Use the same words each time to represent an object/activity. i.e. “There’s a dog. Big dog. Dog says woof woof.”
- Exaggerate your gestures and facial expressions. i.e. “Oh (raise eyebrows and open mouth) see dog!” (point to dog).
- Repeat your child’s sounds or words. i.e. child:”ba”, adult:”ba”, child:”wa wa”, adult:”wa wa”
- Model and expand your child’s attempts at words. i.e. child: “cah”, adult: “car” (model), adult: “car go” (expand)
- Avoid yes/no questions. A child will use one word to respond. i.e. adult: “Do you want more milk?”-child responds: “yes”, ld: “What do you want?”-child responds:”more milk”
- If your child is not verbal, interpret his/her gestures. Give your child the words to use in the future. i.e. When she wants you to come and pulls at your arm, say: “Come? You want me to come? Okay, I will come. Come”
Note: Remember, when you expect your child to use a word or gesture, pause. i.e. adult: “What do you want” (count to 5 silently), adult: “What do you want” (count to 5 silently). If there is no response the adult says: “milk”.