Addressing Early Language Skills at Home
Are you concerned that your child is not talking? Most children say their first words around 12 months, and can expand their vocabulary up to 50 words by the time they are 18 months old! Children are so smart, and can often do this on their own. However, oftentimes there are children that need a little encouragement. Here are some tricks to get your child talking:
Motor Movements: Copying motor movements is much easier than imitating sounds or words. Try starting with some simple movements (i.e. clapping, giving kisses/hugs, stomping.) One of my favorite activities is pairing movements with familiar nursery rhymes. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes is perfect for this! Don’t know the movements to other songs? Make them up!
Drawing Attention: Your child may prefer to look at the toy on the floor than at you when you’re speaking. Simply bring the toy close to your mouth while you model the word you’d like them to say. This helps them focus on you without having to take their eyes off of the preferred toy.
Sounds: Some sounds are easier to imitate than others. I frequently recommend focusing on sounds that are made with your lips, and are easier for your child to see. P, B, W, and M are all great options to start with.
Simplify: Try to choose words that are short and simple. The word “ball” is going to be much easier to copy than “firetruck.” If you feel like the word is too complicated, substitute it for a sound effect! Instead of “police car” try, “woo woo.”
If you don’t see improvement in your child’s vocabulary after trying these strategies, it might be time to seek the help of a Speech Language Pathologist.