Tips & Techniques for Encouraging Speech and Language

Parents can consider the following tips when working towards strengthening the language development of their child, no matter what age:

• Always face your child when you are talking; talk simply, clearly and slowly.
• Use your child's name as an attention-getter before delivering the message.
• Accompany messages with gestures, facial expressions and body language.
• Use your hands when speaking to show how big or small something is.
• Name things, animals and people that will be of interest to your child.
• Expand on what your child has said; ask open-ended questions to draw out a response.
• Always praise your child's efforts to communicate.

For very young children with speech and language delays:

  • Imitate your child's babbling to develop verbal imitation and turn-taking behavior.
  • Read to your child every day, perhaps as part of a bedtime routine; include nursery rhymes.
  • Play simple games with your child, including "Peek-a-boo" and "Pat-a-cake."
  • Accept, by natural response, all of your child's attempts at communication, no matter how primitive.
  • Show your child picture books and talk about what you see.

For toddlers with speech and language delays:

  • Help your child listen and follow instructions by playing games, such as "Pick up the Ball" or "Touch Daddy's Nose."
  • Repeat new words, over and over.
  • Talk about new situations and locations before you go, while you're there, and again, when you are home.
  • When you don't understand your child, ask for one repetition; if you still don't understand, ask the child to show you what he or she means.
  • Let your child tell you answers to simple questions.
  • Describe what you're doing, planning and thinking.
  • Have the child deliver simple messages for you: "Mommy needs you, daddy."
  • Sing songs like the "Hokey Pokey," that lead your child to interact with parts of his or her own body.
  • Sing and dance to songs that you and your child both know and like.

All information cited from