As a preschool director, speech is the number one thing that parents ask me about. It seems that lots of children can struggle with basic speech development, and often a few quick changes at home can help drastically improve their speech. Even my own child simply needed a few quick changes and we saw amazing improvement. Check out these top five ways to help develop speech for your toddler.
Five Ways to Help Increase Toddler Speech
These five with things you can change throughout your day to help your toddler with their speech. Many of these items require very little from the parents and you can see immediate improvement.
- Don't Make Everything Accessible: One thing that many parents think is helping, but can actually hinder their child, is making everything easy to access. While it is fun to watch toddlers be self-sufficient, making them ask for things can drastically improve their speech and frequency of speech. Put away favorite toys, cups, and even snacks and help guide your child through asking for these items. Practice makes perfect, so the more your child has to talk, the better!
- Model For Them: Start to talk to your toddler like you want them to talk to you. Start with small phrases, such as "brown bear" or "green truck" and then build up to more complicated phrases, such as "The big, green truck" and "The loud, brown bear." This helps your child see what they should be saying and help them put together their thoughts.
- Purchase Open Ended Toys: While all toys can be fun for a young brain, your traditional toys tend to be the best to feed speech in your toddler. Toys, such as blocks, that can be a variety of things and allow the child to build and talk about what they are building. This also fosters conversations between parents, which is another way to practice speech.
- Work Together on Daily Tasks: Include your toddler on daily tasks and talk about what you are doing while you are working. By labeling and identifying your daily tasks, it helps your child learn new daily words and help them identify and connect their vocabulary to their daily tasks. Take this time to help build your child's vocabulary and confidence.
- Step Away from Technology: While the learning apps can be a great way to help your child learn letters and numbers, step away from technology when teaching speech. Speech has many different connotation and children learn best when speaking directly with another human. The best thing you can do is speak with your child and talk about their day.
While speech is a difficult skill for children to learn, it can be easily taught. Starting with these simple adjustments, you will see drastic improvement right away. Always remember, the more creative you can be when working with your child, the better. This will help your child stay engaged and involved.