By Dvora Gottlieb, MMSc, CCC-SLP, Speech Program Director
Through play, children become more available to learn and to take turns.
We recommend the following ideas because they help parents help their children.
SPANISH Version of Early Language and Play Recommendations: Recomendamos estas ideas porque ayudan a los padres a ayudar a sus hijos.
- Animal sounds and sound effects for sirens, trains, and other playful things that interest her are really exercises in disguise. Each one of those gives her practice saying a consonant+vowel “word.” For example, an excited “Yay!” is really practice attaching the sound /y/ to the /ay/ sound for her. “Moo!” is /m/+/u/, and so on.
- Gestures and signs add information and movement to the words we say to a child. Using signs can help him be understood more easily, which can reduce frustration. Hearing children who sign and gesture actually talk MORE, not less. Use the natural gestures and signs we suggest and model during therapy!
- Imitation: Getting him to copy playful actions like a “copy-cat” or in song movements, helps him get ready to be a more available “student” in speech therapy, home and daycare. This is because imitation is the way we begin learning a lot of skills, including speech.
- Repeat the things your child says back to her, so she knows you are understanding part of what she says. This encourages her to talk more! Take Turns with balls, trucks and singing! This encourages her to wait and to expect your actions.
- Talk about the day as you go through it together, and name the things and actions he likes. This helps him NOTICE more and this increases vocabulary and interest. Remember, things that are dull to grown-ups, like cooking or laundry, are exciting to little children. TALK about what you are doing while you do it and find small ways your child can “help.”
~~There is NO SUCH THING as too young for books! ~~~~
Research shows that children who see others read ANYTHING at home become better readers later.
Children who play and look at pictures in books are also better readers when they grow up.
If your child won’t sit through a story, show him the pictures and tell about it, instead of reading, this makes the story shorter and fun for both of you! If you are not available to read to your child, make sure someone else DOES! If reading is hard for you, ASK a speech-language pathologist at Savannah Speech and Hearing Center about reading help at any age! For some more great information and help about reading, go to ReadingRockets.org.
- Be POSITIVE and talk a LOT to your child. Research shows that children who do best in school come from homes where there is a LOT of TALKING, a LOT of nice, specific PRAISE, and a LOT of POSITIVE-style correction. Ask your SLP to know more about these ideas!