Teach Your Child to Talk

Here is a list of suggestions that may help you to help your child as he/she learns to use speech to communicate.

  1. Speak clearly, simply and wait for a response.
  2. Repeat the good speech of your child to show him you understand and to show him you like his good speech.
  3. Don't tell him he's "wrong" when he uses poor speech; show him/her a better way to say it.
  4. Try to be patient and wait for the child's best effort. Don't let him go with a grunt or a gesture when you know they can use the words.
  5. CONVERSE with your child. Don't let all your talking be just questions or commands! Remember, communication is give and take. Encourage your child to reply, wait for a response and follow through. Don't dump messages on your child; make it an exchange.
  6. Encourage GOOD LISTENING HABITS. Get eye contact, ask him to repeat what you said to see if he heard it and listen yourself. Show him how to listen yourself.
  7. Use YES/NO questions as a last resort. Try to ask questions that need a longer answer or give him a choice of two answers if you get stuck. Use the YES/NO questions only if you have to.
  8. Remember to make your talking as interesting as you can when your child is having trouble understanding you. Use what he can see and touch. SHOW and TELL, FEEL and TELL, GESTURE and use FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. Don't just sound happy; look happy.
  9. Try to make talking work. Make speech payoff. Talking should make things happen and not just be rewarded for its own sake.
  10. Let the child lead sometimes. Talk about what interests them and use it to make speech payoff.
  11. Don't let TV be a substitute for conversation. You don't get strong watching sports and your child won't learn to talk watching the news.

Remember, you already are a communications expert. You already know a lot about speech and language. You've been doing it all your life. This list is just a reminder of things you probably do anyway. Keep it up!!