19 Dec Playtime!

While it may sound too fun to be true, playing with your toddler can have a great impact on his/her speech development, if you incorporate some key ideas.


Consider these ideas on your next playdate:


  1. Take Turns.  Choose a game that requires turn taking.  This back and forth with your toddler will help develop the skill and rhythm of turn-taking, similar to what happens in conversation.  A ball catch or roll is a great idea.


  1. Teach Words.  Describe to a child what they are doing in one or two words.  Repeat these words often during the game.  Repetition is great for learning!


  1. Be Noisy!  Add in whatever sound effects are socially appropriate for the game you are playing.  This will encourage your playmate to vocalize as well.


  1. Respond. When your child does vocalize a sound or word, give him reinforcement by responding the same way.  For example, if he/she tries saying “ball”, respond enthusiastically by saying “ball!”


  1. Use Sign Language. Pair the new words you are teaching with simple sign language.  For “one” you can hold up one finger. For “stop”, you can hold up your hand.


  1. Give Names. Point to areas on a toy to associate names with items.  With menchies, you can point out “man” and “baby”.


  1. Don’t overwhelm! When teaching new words in the context of a game, use the same ones over and over.  Don’t overwhelm with too many. For example, a child with a poor vocabulary should NOT be started with colors or shapes; instead with useful words like “no” “yes” and “where”.


  1. Attention to mouth!  When teaching a word, you want your child to focus on your mouth so that he can see how you are producing the sound.  To do this, pick up the toy of interest and place it near your mouth as you vocalize.


Last of all…don’t forget to have fun! Being an engaging and enthusiastic playmate will increase your child’s motivation for learning to speak.

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