Top 3 Ways to Encourage Language Development in Babies and Young Children

Top 3 Ways to Encourage Language Development in Babies and Young Children
May is National Speech-Language-Hearing Month and here are the top 3 things you can do to
support and develop your young child’s speech and language skills:
Narrate what you are doing and what your child is doing. Use short sentences and keep
language simple, but don’t use “baby talk”. You can engage your child with infant directed
speech (parentese): try different pitches and tones of voice and be animated. Call objects by
their correct names and do not mispronounce words. For examples of parentese, see the video
How to Talk to With Your Baby
When your child starts to talk, expand what they say by adding one word. For example, if your
child says, “car” you might say “car go” or “push car”. Comment and describe what’s happening
around you and during play.
Reading is one of the most important ways to grow your baby’s language skills. Research
shows that children who hear more language will eventually learn and use more language.By
reading to your child every day, you build listening skills, expose them to new vocabulary and
introduce them to language concepts. Babies as young as 4-6 months will respond to your
voice and show interest in interacting with books. Start with colorful and sturdy vinyl or cloth
books as they may mouth or chew on them at first. As your baby learns words, you can
encourage them to point to pictures in the books. Children love routine and repetition and will
probably want you to read the same books again and again. When they start to use words, you
can pause while reading and let them “fill in the blank” for the last word in the sentence.
Play is highly correlated to speech and language development. Begin with simple social games,
like patty cake and peek a boo. Play helps a child learn joint attention (two people are focused
on the same thing) and cause and effect (if you push a block tower, the blocks will fall), which
are necessary for purposeful communication. Play also involves a back and forth exchange
(such as rolling a ball to each other), just like a conversation. As your child grows older, you
can teach them how to use toys and objects for their intended purpose. Encourage pretend
play, like “making” food, feeding their dolls or stuffed animals and using blocks to build a garage
or house. There are many opportunities for you and your child to use language and comment
during imaginative play.

Get a Free Online Assessment

Looking for an expert opinion on your child's needs? Fill out a 3 minute questionnaire and receive a personal evaluation from our staff

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Wee Speech, 8707 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL, 60077, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *