As the earliest teachers for their children, parents and carers play a critical role in their child’s speech and language development.
Hear and Say Listening and Spoken Language Specialist and qualified speech pathologist, Liz Morosini outlined some of the basic practices families can use at home.
These strategies encourage speech and language development – regardless of whether a child has a hearing loss or not.
- Talk to your child: speak about everything you see and hear around you as you go about your day together. This provides plenty of language stimulation to further develop their listening and hearing, so they are understanding and speaking in context.
- Read, read, read: Read lots of books to your child, starting from when they are a baby. Reading provides opportunities for listening, imitation, vocabulary development and bonding.
- Singing songs: The intonation (pitch and melody) patterns and rhyming in songs are very important for language and speech development. Singing helps to build on children’s listening skills, vocalising sounds and the understanding use of vocabulary.
- Fun and games: Play with your child and follow their lead. Not only does this help to nurture your relationship with your child, but play also provides lots of opportunities for listening, speech and language development and learning turn-taking.
- Wait for a response: Create opportunities for your child to practice their communication skills. Give your child the chance to respond to a question or activity using vocalising (babies) or words (older children).