Speech Development In Children

Some ideas for parents to help them aid in the development of their child's speech.

Though it may not seem like it, from the moment your child is born they are taking in all that is necessary to learn about their world - including the ability to speak. While it is true that all children will learn new skills at different ages and stages, it is also true that there is much that you can do to help them along the way.

A lot of the actual speech that you hear from a child is dependent on the development of muscles and motor skills associated with speaking however so much more of the skills required for speaking has a lot to do with what is going on in their head. There is much you can do to help them along.

PROVIDE A STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT

Children crave stimulation and providing them with the opportunity to realize their creative nature will often stimulate much more than a painting or a modeling project. The ability to discover and learn are just as important as the actual words waiting to be spoken and you will be helping them along the way by providing ample opportunities for them to discover hidden talents.

READ TO THEM

While it may be overstated constantly, reading to your child from the very beginning is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. By taking the time to spend with your child with a book, you are helping them to appreciate the magical qualities that language can have and their interest in these qualities is what makes them keen learners.

Not only that, but they will learn a whole lot more about grammar and word tools. Children's books especially are outfitted with rhyme and vivid pictures to accompany the words and children can get lost in the treasure of language.

In addition, reading also promotes another important speech related ability and that is - to be able to read out loud. Many children struggle with just being able to read, much less the ability to do it out loud. Story time can bring a whole new dimension to the important skills of language.



It is never to young to start reading to a child. A baby fresh out of the womb can appreciate the gently lull of words and some fantastically colored pictures. By starting to read to them as early as possible you are reinforcing the foundations of an easy transition later.

DESCRIBE IT

A simple matter of describing what they are doing, seeing and hearing can lead to a lot of useful speech development. Help your child appreciate the ability to transform vision into speech and they will quickly be intrigued to do the same.

For a pre-schooler, try naming things around the house. Stick the name of the object onto the actual object so that in passing your child will begin to recognize and repeat the words. I.e. write "bed" on a piece of paper and stick it on the bed.

SING

Singing intrigues children. Make sure you provide plenty of opportunities for song, in fact, turn much of your day with younger children into song, they will appreciate it. Often, much of a child's first language comes from repeating words or phrases from songs. When they hear a song, it stands out from all the rest of the language and sparks certain recognition. They have heard it before and will learn to repeat it.

REPETITION

Children learn through doing. That means repetition. Provide ample opportunity for them to learn through repeating things often. Whether it is songs, books, words or directions, if you follow a pattern it becomes familiar and when it is familiar they will learn to recognize it and attempt to repeat it.

EXPOSURE TO OTHER CHILDREN

The need to communicate with other children is very strong. When they are learning to share (or demand!) they need to develop the ability to communicate their needs quickly and they will soon learn to put their feelings into words if they spend enough time around other children. This does not mean that you have to put them into care for them to be able to interact with other children. Take them to playgroups or to the park and encourage them to interact with others.

SOME SIMPLE GAMES FOR LEARNING SPEECH

Matching games - when played together they teach children to describe what they are looking for.

Songs - teach a child to talk when trying to repeat

Reading - teaches a child word recognition and grammar

Cooking - make a simple recipe chart and have your children follow the steps while cooking. They will have to read out loud and associate the pictures with the actual objects required. It will show them that there is a certain order to the process of language.

Describing - play games with a blindfold where the child has to describe an object. Even smaller children will be able to use words like, sticky, hot, cold, smooth. This kind of game makes them think about what they are doing and put it into words.

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