Some parents who talk a great deal to their babies will probably think a 14-month-old forming two- or three-word sentences is nothing out of the ordinary. While it’s certainly not extraordinary, it’s still an impressive rate of speech development that can be attributed to constant communication with your child through the spoken language.
If you’re worried about the slowness of your child’s pace when it comes to talking or expressing himself through words, consider these speech therapy activities that can help overcome a number of early childhood verbal communication challenges.
Speech Therapy Activities for Toddlers
From using simple sounds and hand gestures to reading books and encouraging communication, there are several effective ways to get your children to use speech and language to the best of their ability.
1. Keep Sounds Simple
Words spoken to newborns should be kept as simple as possible. Stick to the basic “ma”, “da”, and “ooh” words as these get through to your babies more effectively. They create simple vowel and consonant sounds that your little ones are able to understand.
Simple sounds are something your child can build on in their efforts to learn how to talk. They are the foundation for the words they’ll eventually be able to form in the months to come.
2. Speak Slowly
When talking to children, you must speak slowly and carefully so that they can understand. Talk to toddlers using simple words and friendly tones.
Furthermore, you must be patient and willing to repeat the words for as long as it takes for the child to get the message correctly. Maintaining eye contact is also important when speaking to your little one.
3. TV Isn’t a Solution
You must keep your toddlers from developing an unhealthy obsession with the television. Don’t let your kids watch TV until they are at least two years old. Even then, you should regulate the number of hours and the kind of programs they get to see.
While educational programs can be beneficial, they aren’t necessarily the best means for overcoming speech problems because of their inability to interact with your child.
4. Play With Your Children
If you’re looking to help your child learn and build motor skills, make it a point to participate in the games they love to play. When playing fun speech therapy games with your children to improve their articulation, make sure to follow their lead. It’s important for them to take center stage, and for you to remain in the background. This helps develop confidence in your little ones without putting pressure on them to speak.
5. Maintain Communication
When you’re at home with your kids, don’t hesitate to tell them every single thing that you’re doing. Whether you’re preparing breakfast, cleaning their room, or watering the plants, your little ones are curious about what you’re up to.
This simple way of communicating allows for an enriching learning experience for your toddler. You would be amazed at the words, objects, and actions their little brains can store.
6. Read to Your Kids
As far as speech therapy activities go, reading is one of the best methods out there. Your child will enjoy listening to you read from a colorful picture book about animals or the different objects that can be found in the household.
Position your kids on your lap while you read so that they’ll be able to view the pictures, as well. This should be both an auditorily and visually enriching experience.
7. Introduce Shapes and Colors
Toys that come in various shapes and colors can be extremely helpful for kids with speech and language delays. When using these items with your children, make sure to point out the different shapes and colors carefully by saying them out loud. This will eventually help your child distinguish shapes and colors correctly.
8. Use Hand Gestures
The gestures and movements you do with your hands, combined with the appropriate words, can help your child associate a particular word with a meaning. Not only does this build your child’s vocabulary, but it also adds elements of fun and laughter into their learning experience.
9. Sing to Your Kids
Singing the lyrics to nursery rhymes and songs is a crucial part of speech therapy. The presence of beats, harmonies, and melodies improves the learning experience by encouraging your child to learn more about the words and phrases being sung.
10. Introduce Adjectives and Adverbs
By this, we don’t mean getting into detail about these terms with your child. Instead, teach them to be more descriptive about the words they already know. For instance, when your little one says “car”, you can tell him or her to add a color or size description at the beginning, like “black” or “big”.
Speech therapy activities help children overcome the challenges inhibiting their speech and language development. They are practices that help kids express themselves through the spoken language to the best of their ability.
For more information on how to address speech and communication issues in children, you can get in touch with a speech-language pathologist or see these helpful tips.