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What can I do at home to develop my child’s speech and language skills?

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This is something we get asked every day… How can I help my child at home? And the truth is that there are so many things you are probably already doing that support their communication development.

Here are a few useful strategies and ideas to try at home to help your child every day:

  • Get onto your child’s level when you’re chatting: Being face-to-face helps your child to look at you, get eye contact and see you while you talk.
  • Follow your child’s lead: Chat to your child about what they are doing or what they are looking at. Let them lead you to where their attention is.
  • Reading and singing together every day: There are SO SO many language benefits to reading and singing with your child. Make it part of your every-day routine!
  • Get rid of distractions: By switching off the radio / TV / tablet, your child will be able to concentrate on what you are saying and then listen better.
  • Use the child’s interests: Show your child that you are interested in the same things as them. Play their favourite games! If they are having fun with you in play, they are learning!
  • Give children tasks: Ask them to do things for you round the house. This helps them learn to understand language and follow instructions.
  • Use visual cues: If your child doesn’t understand something you say to them, show them by using gestures and demonstration.
  • Giving choices: Let your child make choices as a way of giving them opportunities to communicate with you. “Would you like yoghurt or fruit for snack today?”.
  • Respond and expand: When your child uses sounds or words to communicate with you, copy the sound or word, and add something on. This helps them learn how to expand / extend their language.
  • Use language in routines: Using the same words repetitively every day in routine, helps your children learn important every-day vocabulary. Like chatting to your children about body parts while washing during bath-time “Let’s wash your chin and your cheeks!”.
  • Ask less questions, use more commenting: When we ask questions, we are ‘testing’ our children, like “What colour is that?”. But when we comment, we are adding richer vocabulary for our children to hear and learn, “I see a huge orange octopus in your book!”.

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