Speech II

Last time we reviewed generally things that consitute normal speech development.  Now let’s talk about a few things that parents can do to advance that process.They are neither hard nor expensive but rather just require being aware as you go through your day with your child.

Talk to your child. When you do, speak slowly and clearly.  Look directly at him when you speak and let him see you forming the words with your mouth.  As you go about your daily routines, try to have a “play by play annoouncer’s” approach–almost like a running monologue.  Remember, though, that a “monologue” can get boring, so be sure to spice up the talk with things like questions, pictures, or little rewards.  For example, when working around the house, let him participate where safe and appropriate and narrate what is occurring as you go.  Praise participation and effort.  If cooking, give snack treats to perpetuate the fun.  If shopping name the things you purchase, as well as shapes, colors, etc.

Singing is a great language developer.  Kiddie songs are good, but any song that fits into your “play by play” is great.  See a bus while driving?–“The Wheels on the Bus.”  Raining?  “April Showers” or “Rain” by the Beatles (naturally, I like that one!!)  See kids playing baseball outside?  “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Whatever comes to mind.  Your child is one music critic who will reliably give your singing a positive review!!

I have previously encouraged limiting TV.  While less TV and video entertainment is better they are not forbidden.  Watch with your child and, again, interact with her when she is watching.  Sing the show’s songs.  Ask questions about what is going on.

When asking quesitons of your speaking child be sure to give her plenty of time to respond.  Let her talk, follow up with comments or questions that will stimulate her to further develop ideas–to carry on a conversation.  Help your child to sound out words as she says them or reads them.

I have written previously about the advantages of reading to your child.  Please review here.

One important point: avoid baby talk.  Goo goo and gah gah are no place.

A word to multilingual households:  I always encourage children learning the language of their ancestors from as early as possible.  It may slightly delay (not prevent) English language development as he assimilates both language systems.  This is particulalry true for non-European languages which are linguistically more distinct from English.  But living here, surrounded by English, they will learn it anyway.  So speak your native language at home, watch TV, listen to the radio, sing in your mother tongue as much as possible.   I believe that being multilingual increases/expands a child’s horizons and promotes healthy cultural and family pride. It will melt Grandma’s heart if your child says “Yo te quiero, abuela–I love you Grandma” in perfect  Spanish (for Spanish speakers, of course)–talk about even better birthday presents!!  And some day, being multilingual will likely increase your adult child’s employment/career prospects as well.

I will have a bit more on language.  Keep reading.  I invite questions, and thanks for following

One other word to multilingual house

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