Speech Therapy Tips: How to Stimulate Early Language Development in Children

Consult with a Speech Therapist

Early language development in children does not happen overnight and can be a slow process, but with a proactive attitude, eager parents can do a lot to help their child along as he or she learns to speak. If you feel that your child has a speech or language difficulty or if he or she is developing at a rate much slower than peers of a similar age, please contact Chicago Speech Therapy for a consultation to determine the type of therapy needed and the program that would be ideal for your child’s personality and condition.

While it is important to remember that every child’s development process is unique and personal, there are some things you can do as a parent that are helpful all across the board, and regardless of the specific speech issue at hand. You can help accelerate your child’s rate of speech development by following a home program (alongside therapy) that uses exercises to reaffirm the language skills that are taught during therapy. By following these recommendations, your child will have an easier time later with reading, writing, schoolwork and friendships.

15 Speech Exercises to Practice with Your Child

  1. Repeat elements of your child’s utterances and add a few simple words to demonstrate how to communicate a clear thought in a concise sentence.
  2. Read to your child every day. Choose topics that are interesting to your child to increase interactivity.
  3. Gently suggest words to help your child express their feelings when he or she is unable to do so.
  4. Steer your child away from immature utterances and towards more mature and recognizable ones.
  5. Use short sentences and words so your child can imitate you successfully.
  6. When your child’s intent is unclear, make sure to ask simple questions to clarify the meaning.
  7. Be alert to topics that your child frequently talks about – contextual information can help you understand what the child means.
  8. Describe your actions while doing them, so your child can associate certain words with their corresponding means in real life.
  9. Describe your child’s actions while they are doing them.
  10. Play charade games to help your child understand commands like “Pretend you’re hopping like a rabbit.”
  11. When asking your child to complete a task, be very specific. “Put your white shoes next to your black shoes.”
  12. Every so often, slip in a question that is guaranteed to elicit a corrective reaction from your child. For example, you could playfully ask: “Does a car drive underwater?”
  13. Make sure to encourage your child to communicate verbally by being attentive to their nonverbal cues and communication attempts.
  14. Use technology (smartphone or computer) to engage your child in a speech or language development game.
  15. Use encouraging verbal and body language to affirm any progress made by your child, however small.