A large part of your child’s speech and language development depends on their environment. As a parent, there are many steps you can take to encourage speech and language development and help your child with his/her needs:
- Start talking to your child at birth. Children of all ages, especially newborns, can benefit immensely from hearing speech.
- It is important to start reading to your child as early as 6 months. You can read books, stories, and even nursery rhymes to expose your child to language.
- Respond to your child’s cooing and babbling.
- Play games with your baby (peek-a-boo, etc.) to encourage responses.
- Talk to your child often. Throughout the day, describe different situations to your child (such as what they are doing, feeling, etc.).
- Encourage your child to participate in storytelling and sharing information.
- Consistently sing to and share music with your child.
- Have your child interact with other children who have slightly more developed speech and language abilities.
- Ask your child a lot of questions.
- Do not attempt to force your child to speak. It is important to give your child time to respond in conversation.
- Respond to your child every time they talk and expand on what they say.
- Use gestures along with words while you speak.
- Do not criticize your child. Instead, be a role model for proper speech.
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