You don't need fancy schmancy tapes—or expensive classes—to help your child learn to speak. Here are a few easy (and free!) ways to get your kid gabbin'.
Make time to have one-on-one conversations with your kid.
While she will probably be exposed to lots of language throughout the day, she'll seriously benefit from focused conversations with an adult. Try talking about how she's feeling or what she's seeing around her.
Maintain eye contact when talking to your kid.
Holding eye contact will determine if she's focusing on the conversation and keep her attention. It will also let her know that she has your undivided attention.
Speak slowly and carefully, use proper grammar, and express your thoughts in complete sentences.
Try to use language that's just above your child's level and expose her to a variety of words.
While you want to use proper grammar that's simple enough for your kid to copy, toss in the occasional big word. She may not be able to repeat the word, but she'll eventually learn how to decipher the meaning.
Keep messages short.
If you express longer thoughts, your kid will get lost.
If her attention starts to drift, speak in a whisper to make her listen more carefully.
Expand her single-word utterances.
If she says "cat," expand her thought; for example, say "Yes, that's a fluffy cat. Would you like to pet him?" It will help expand her vocabulary and let her know you understand her.
When asking your kid a question, try to ask in a way that requires more than a yes or no answer.
At mealtime, for example, ask if she'd like an apple or a banana. It will allow her to practice saying "apple" or "banana" and give her the satisfaction of choosing which type of fruit she would like to eat. If you can't understand what she's trying to tell you, ask for clarification, and wait for her to continue using words and/or gestures.
Rather than correcting your child if she makes an error, use the word in a sentence and repeat it in a natural way.
Speech errors are all too common in young children, and you'll drive her—and yourself—nuts if you insist on perfection all the time!
Don't expect her to be a fabulous conversationalist when you have visitors.
She may be nervous and shy when asked to speak in front of an audience.
Use sound-play exercises.
Make simple sound patterns (such as "beep, beep, beep") and have your kid imitate you. Encourage her to create a sound pattern and mimic her.
Seize opportunities to play with language.
Teach her simple nursery rhymes and once she's familiar with them, pause so she can fill in the "blanks." Or teach her some finger plays (like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"). Make a point to name objects in books and magazines, or when you're out.
Create a picture file for your child.
Look for interesting pictures in magazines and keep them in a shoebox or a photo album. Have her look through the photos with you and tell you about each one.
Learn the key language-related milestones so you can determine the signs of any speech and language delay early on.
But remember, don't worry yourself into insanity. A typical toddler will usually utter her first word around age 1, but a child who reaches that milestone at any point between 10 and 24 months is still considered to be developing normally.report abuse