How to support speech development at home

As parents we often compare our kids with others in terms of movement development, potty training and also speech development. Speech development has certain biological stages but there are several variations in terms of the time of a given speech developmental stage even for an average child. How can we support speech development? We give you some simple ideas in the following article which you can try in your everyday life.

The first basic point is the environment that shall support communication. It is important that families should speak actively. Background noises are disturbing and make it difficult for the child to differentiate noise and speech and it also can contain too many stimuli. Right from the birth of our kid we should try to communicate everything, little acts, purposes, feelings. “I know that you have stomach ache, I give you a massage, and it might help.” While speaking we shall look at our kid and articulate adequately and use our gestures, too.

Interactivity and our responses are crucial. Pay attention to the kid’s signals and react to his or her speech or acts. But we shall keep in mind that we shouldn’t answer the questions instead of them. While taking care of them we tell them what and why we do and give them time to answer even if this is only a grimace.

But how should we start conscious support? – First of all by looking at picture books and identifying objects and animals. We can imitate the voices of animals – mew, bark, growl –, being playful and good acting are important since these motivate our kids to imitate us. The car’s brave vroom, the train’s choo-choo sounds are also good to imitate, these are instrumental in the word formation later on. Short rhyming says and the onomatopoeic rhythmic songs are also essential for the little ones because these require strong articulation and slow speech which make it easier to follow the articulation. The repetition of short rhyming says, poems and tales helps the process of getting conscious of the sounds and improves vocabulary, too.

When kids start to learn words they often use their own words for certain acts or objects. We should try to tell them the original words but do this very carefully. If our kid says “vroom-vroom” instead of “car” you shouldn’t tell them that “no, it is not a vroom-vroom, it is a car”; let’s put is like this: “yes, that is a car.” We shall do the same in terms of sentences. For example: “Banana eat” – “Would you like to eat a banana? Good, I will give you one.

Speech and movement development go usually together so by letting our kids try different types of exercises as often as possible we will help their cognitive skills and speech development.
We shouldn’t get tired of the continuous questions of our kid. They often need repetition to be able to learn the articulation and the meaning of certain words. Our answers should be adapted to the needs and the developmental stage of our kid.

This article is translated by Emese Murin.
Click here for the Hungarian version.