Learning how to imitate words is a crucial step in communication development. Here's a simple but powerful sequence to boost your little one's language skills!
1). Get on your child's eye level and make eye contact.
We want our children to be making eye contact and looking at us when we talk with them. This can help increase their understanding, as well as allow them to see how we make speech sounds with our mouths.
2). Speak in super-short phrases (e.g., use 1 word with 1-year-olds, 2 words with 2-year-olds, etc.).
Children are better able to comprehend and imitate what we're saying when we speak with them at their developmental level.
3). Most importantly (and my favorite!): use "wait time."
We must give our kiddos time to think and respond. Count to 5-7 seconds in your head (yes, that long!) before you reply. This tip also teaches kids that communication is a give-and-take activity, and that their words are valued. Don't worry if the words aren't very clear: for young toddlers, we are more concerned about their attempts to talk rather than how clearly they are speaking. You can even start using this strategy as young as infancy--you never know when your little one will coo, smile, or babble back!
4). Then, keep up your conversation!
Continue talking or playing with your child, and use this sequence of tips throughout your day. The more practice you get, the easier it is for both you and your child.
If you have concerns that your toddler isn't making eye contact and/or imitating gestures, finger points, sounds or words, please reach out ASAP. If you live in Colorado, contact ChitChat Therapies or your local school district's Child Find department.
Hi! I'm Angie Wuelling, MA, CCC-SLP, bilingual speech-language pathologist and owner of ChitChat Therapies. I started this blog because I'm passionate about sharing information about speech, language, reading, and feeding development with fellow parents, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and other professionals. There's a lot of misinformation out there, and this blog is my small way of helping empower and educate others.
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