Whether your child is struggling with speech or you are an expecting parent who wants to know the best ways to encourage language-use, everyone can benefit from learning ways to help improve children's language development. While no two children are exactly the same, and everyone learns at a different pace, it is important to know some basic methods for helping your child be a better communicator. Three simple tips are listed below:
1. Truly Communicate with Your Child
Parenting is stressful, and it is easy to get into the habit of rushing through various activities without talking to your child. However, by doing this, you're missing out on valuable opportunities to teach your child words and communication skills. Talk to your child about where you're going and what you're doing, and respond to their reactions and gestures. Also, teach your child the names of everyday items and activities. The more they hear, the more they'll repeat and internalize, improving their vocabulary and ability to communicate what they want or need.
2. Read and Listen to Music
Reading and listening to music are two great activities for improving language development. Read out loud to your child, and explain what is happening in different pictures. Depending on their age, you can even use pictures to quiz your child by asking them to identify different pictures or explain what is happening. Singing along to children's songs is both a fun and educational activity that helps children with pronunciation and learning the rhythm of language.
3. Learn Why Your Child Speaks a Certain Way
To effectively help your child, it is important to learn about common speech problems. Parents and teachers must also learn the difference between speech impediments and a child speaking a certain way because of their current social/emotional stage. For example, many children in kindergarten experience a fear of growing up while simultaneously wanting to be seen as a big kid, causing them to try to speak like the grown ups around them while also mixing in baby talk. Rather than getting angry at your child for speaking like a baby, encourage and give attention when they speak like a big kid.
If your child's language development seems to be far behind their peers, or if they have significant difficulty communicating, you might consider visiting a speech pathologist from a company like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head to help them improve and catch up. Again, showing patience and encouragement will be much more beneficial than getting angry or punishing your child for the way they speak. It is important to support and encourage your child's language development at every age, but it is especially crucial when they're young. Give the tips above a try to help your child be the best they can be.