At times, the world of language development can feel like you're falling down a rabbit hole. Here are some functional tips to support language development within the early years of life.
1. Add descriptive words when you are speaking
If a child is using a single word to describe an action or item, repeat back what they have said and include an additional descriptive word.
For example Child: "eating banana", Parent/Therapist: "You're eating a yellow banana"
It is important that we are always speaking in full sentences to our children!
2. Use your child's level of language + 1/2 words
This is a very effective way to increase vocabulary and sentence/phrase length for children. Pairing the new word with a visual will also help quite significantly. For example, Child: "red car", Parent "Yes it's a fast red car!"
You can also use a forced-choice question in order to enhance vocabulary even further.
This type of question only has two answers. For example Parent/Therapist: "Should the car go slow or fast?" (Demonstrating both). This is a fun and effective way for children to use/attempt new words.
3. Switch out "What is that?"
Unfortunately, we see many adults constantly ask questions to children which results in a mini quiz for children every day! We want to ensure that children get exposed to new vocabulary every day, and that is typically acquired through adults talking. If children are only repeating what they already know (and only hearing "what is that?", they are not getting exposed to, and practicing, rich new vocabulary.
A great rule of thumb - for every question you ask, make five comments!
4. Talk about what you are doing every day
Ever feel like you are always talking to yourself at home with young children around? That is great! Talking about your activities is a fantastic way to promote language. Start or continue to talk about your day, what you are doing / will be doing - even if it is the simplest of tasks.
Stay posted for more speech pathology tips and tricks!
Until next time,
- Speechie Morgan