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ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD’S LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT: PART 4

This is the last segment of “Encourage Your Child’s Language Development”. We have reviewed and discussed the following points: 1) Be an active listener. 2) Let your child talk without interruptions. 3) Reward your child’s speech attempts. 4) If you don’t understand your child, help your child communicate more clearly. 5) Give your child enough time to respond to you. 6) Give your child feedback when making a sound or word error.

The last three points are:
7) Decrease the pressure placed on your child to talk by limiting the number of activities to be done at one time. It may be too difficult for your child to play with toys and talk at the same time. The TV or music may be too much of a distraction. Avoid making your child “perform” in front of others. If you want to show how your child can count in front of Grandpa, count together. Make the experience fun for everyone.

8) Discourage the use of “bad” words by encouraging other types of expression. Kids know that “bad” words can be used to shock people and get attention! The best response is to avoid acting shocked and explain that people don’t like those words and you don’t want to hear them. It is important to let your child know that you understand the child’s feelings. Attempt to teach your child another way to express emotions, e.g. hit a pillow when mad and say acceptable words like “no!”; “not happy”; or just “mad”. This way, you are accepting your child’s feelings and language attempts and suggesting other words or actions that can be used instead of “bad” words.

9) Know what to expect of your child. Help your child communicate within the range of your child’s ability. If you have a good idea about what your child can and cannot do, you will not demand too much–or accept less. Knowing this information will save frustration for both you and your child.

You can have a tremendous influence on your child’s language development. It takes time, patience and a real effort on your part. The rewards will be worth it-for both you and your child.

Reference: Communication Skill Builders, Author: Diann D. Grimm, M.A. C.C.C., Ed.S.

Editing by Pamela Hass, M.A. C.C.C. Speech Language Pathologist
Interactive Therapy Inc , www.interactivetherapy.net