How to Make Your Child Use More Words
Milestones are an important part of any child’s development. When we speak about milestones, it involves many facets. One of the most prominent ones involves a child’s use of language to communicate. We are always waiting for our child’s first words. It’s always a special moment. Some parents may worry when their child hasn’t begun speaking yet at a certain age. There are many things we can do to help our child when this happens. Here are 4 ways on how to make your child use more words.
- Give opportunities to request
Sometimes, a child may not want to speak because all the things he needs are readily available for him, without the need to ask for it. This is especially common to children who tend to throw tantrums when not given what she wants and parents cave in to their requests. Sometimes, you just must resist the temptation to stop the tantrums and provide your child an opportunity to request for something. For example, you can place his favorite toy or food on a visible area and prompt him to say “give” first before getting the item. This will give the idea that when he uses his words, he can get what he wants.
- Expand what they say
For some children, speaking is not the problem. Rather, the problem lies in the length of what they say. Children are expected to speak in longer phrases and sentences at the age of 2-4 years. If you have a child who uses single words at this point, you may help by expanding his sentences. When your child utters a single word, let’s say, “ball”; you may want to add more words into what he said such as “catch the ball” and make him repeat it. This way, he can be more used to using longer phrases and sentences to communicate.
- Repeat important words
Building your child’s vocabulary is one of the important things to help your child communicate better. Therefore, it is important to repeatedly expose them to important words that will help them express themselves more. Avoid using baby-talk and using their made-up jargons for things, and instead use the appropriate word repeatedly. For example, your child uses the word “mim” for “milk”. Don’t encourage her to use “mim” by saying it too, and model the correct word “milk”. A repetition-rich sentence will help your child remember his vocabulary words better. An example of that would be, “Do you want milk? Yes, this is milk. Milk is for drinking!”
- Teach then ask
Don’t be frustrated when your child cannot answer a question. Sometimes, you just must teach first and then ask. Some children have problems processing questions such as “yes or no” or “wh-” types. So, it is best to ask them, prompt the answer and then ask again to see if they remember. For example, you may ask “Do you eat cookies?”, and prompt her to say “yes”. Asking the second time, wait for the answer without giving it right away. It will help if you ask questions when things are happening or she is presently experiencing something related to the question. This will help them to recognize the questions when ask.
I hope these simple tips help! If you suspect that your child has issues with communication, don’t hesitate to contact a developmental pediatrician or a speech therapist in your area. Early intervention is crucial!
Angeline Gormley has a degree in speech-language pathology. She has been in the practice for 5 years and is currently managing a blog that helps parents and other advocates of children with special needs. You can visit her blog at http://teachandlove.com and other social media accounts: Facebook / Twitter
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