By Elise Duryea, NYS Licensed Speech Language Pathologist
If there’s one question that parents of babies and toddlers are constantly asking it’s, “What should I be doing to help my child talk?” The simple answer, in a nutshell, is TALK…12,000-15,000 words per day. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Here are some ways to sneak language into your every day activities:
- Talk and Narrate What You Are Doing
Use full sentences which include verbs and adjectives as you engage in your daily activities. The best times to do this include getting dressed and mealtime, but can include taking a walk, food shopping, or simply going about your typical routine.
Use “baby talk” when talking to your baby, and sing songs and nursery rhymes with toddlers. They love hearing your voice, learn prosody, and will attend to the speaker when the pitch changes from normal conversational tone of voice to a sing-song voice.
- Read Books
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading books to babies from the time they are born. Books are an amazing way to teach your child how to label, learn vocabulary, ask questions, and learn to problem solve. As your child grows, let them identify items, fill-in the words you omit in the story, and make predictions about what may happen next.
- Explore Your Neighborhood
New venues are new opportunities for different language experiences. Each time you venture to a new place – the park, the grocery store, the post office – it’s an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary that your child may not be exposed to in your home.
- Be Present
Last, but certainly not least, is being present and in the moment with your child. When you are tuned in to what they are doing and saying, language and learning will happen naturally!