As Speech Therapists, it does not go unnoticed the amount of early intervention referrals we are getting for "communication delays", especially since our 2020 experience. Many parents are noticing their child might not be talking as much as they think they should. The research supports that due to such limited exposure, minimal communication opportunities and masks, there are many families experiencing these delays with their little ones.
As alarming as that might seem, there are many ways to make a rich language environment for your child. Here are 3 ways to try increasing language use at home. Try them out and see how it goes!
Use simplified or "Smaller" language in play.
While young children benefit from a language-rich environment, during times of one-on-one engagement and play, it’s more helpful to use simplified language. For example, when playing with a car set, you can target simple single words and two-word phrases such as “car,” “up,” “down,” “go,” “car up!,” “car down!,” “car go!” "Whoa!" "So Fast!" Being a little more dramatic with intonation always helps too
Practice Self Talk. “Self Talking” refers to narrating anything you do during routines and activities of daily living. Studies have shown a strong relation between increased language acquisition in children whose parents frequently use Self Talk around them. It may seem repetitive, boring or silly, but this strategy is simple and easy to do! For example, during a routine such as bath time, narrate the step to prepare the bathtub: “Let’s turn on the light and fill up the tub with water. Splash! Here it comes. Uh-oh! It got on my shirt! All wet! Now let’s add some bubbles. Pop pop pop!”
Practice Parallel Talk. In contrast to Self Talk, “Parallel Talk” refers to narrating anything the child does during routines and activities of daily living. Studies have also shown a strong correlation between increased language acquisition in children whose parents frequently use Parallel Talk. For example, “Wow you got the red ball! Now you’re throwing it to Mama. Bounce bounce bounce. Uh-oh, daddy got it…!"
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