Can doing toddler speech delay activities with your child help with their language skills? You bet it can! If you need some help coming up with activities, we’ve got you covered! Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite easy and fun activities that help build language skills! Let’s check them out!
Doing activities with your child to help with their toddler speech delay is also a great way to bond! You don’t always have to sit down and do specific speech therapy activities to work on their language development. We all know ‘work’ can get tedious and children can get distracted easily or have a very short attention span.
So besides sitting down and doing the exercises given to you by your speech therapist, what sort of activities can you do with your child to help them with their speech? I have listed a few toddler speech delay activities below to get you started! First, though, let’s talk a little about speech delays in general.
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5 Things You Need to Know About Toddler Speech Delays
Before we get into the toddler speech delay activities, let’s learn a bit more about what it means to have delayed speech. First, let’s go over a few things that a toddler speech delay isn’t.
1. A speech delay doesn’t mean your child can’t hear properly
While hearing issues can (and often do) cause speech delays, a speech delay does not always mean that hearing loss is present. Your child’s pediatrician will help you find out if one is causing the other by administering age-appropriate hearing tests. I can tell you from experience, some toddlers have a higher tolerance to noise, so don’t assume your child can’t hear just because he doesn’t react to loud sounds near him.
2. It also doesn’t mean he’s autistic
While a child on the autism spectrum may have a speech and language delay, the presence of a delay itself is not enough to a diagnosis. Again, your pediatrician is the best person to talk to about your concerns.
3. A speech delay is NOT an intelligence delay!
SUPER, super important to keep in mind: just because your child can’t communicate with you at the expected levels for his age DOES NOT mean he isn’t smart. My child was behind on his ability to speak, yet his receptive language skills at age three (what he understood) were those of a 7-year-old.
4. It’s not really a language delay
We often use speech and language delay interchangeably, but they aren’t really the same thing. While they often come together, it is possible for your child to have a speech delay but be developing language skills at a “normal” rate and vice-versa. Speech is what comes out of your child’s mouth. It’s the ability to string a series of sounds into intelligible words and have others understand them. Language is the ability to understand what words mean. Make sense?
5. It’s not uncommon
Did you know that speech and language disorders affect 5-10 percent of all preschool children? It’s important to understand that your child isn’t alone, and neither are you!
Now that we understand a bit more about what speech delays are and aren’t, let’s check out a few of my favorite easy toddler speech delay activities!
Toddler Speech Delay Activities
This is one of the best toddler speech delay activities! When you read to your child, they are listening to you and how you form words, and they do not even know they are doing it. Children are tiny little sponges, eager to learn and always doing so. Reading to your child will help with developing their vocabulary. Read aloud books are great. Here is a list to help you get started: 5 Awesome Read-Aloud Books For Preschoolers
Nursery rhymes are great for speech and language development. Did you know that singing and regular speech actually come from different parts of the brain? In fact, stroke victims who lose their ability to speak can often communicate by singing instead. The same theory holds true for your child. My child could sing “You are My Sunshine” long before he could tell me what he wanted for lunch. Check out this video for some of the most popular nursery rhymes to sing with your kids.
3. Feed them language
I don’t mean give them alphabet cereal. When your child speaks, add words of description for him. For example, if your child says ‘train’, you respond with ‘fast train’. This is how all children learn new words.
Play with your child! When you do, let your child lead. It allows for a safe environment where they do not need to ‘talk’ to the adult all the time. You will help them to build their self-confidence. Using his imagination is important!
5. Remove the batteries
The idea is that the child is the one to make the sounds, create the sounds, even if they are wrong. Batteries in toys hinder this process. Your best bet is to go back to basics. Legos, wooden block, Lincoln Logs, train sets, dollhouses, babies, play dough…you get the idea. You want your child to get creative.
Read this article ► Fun Home Speech Therapy Activities to Get Your Toddler Talking
6. Go outside
Nothing can get a child’s imagination going like being outside in nature. As you explore, point out all of the things that you see and name them for your child. Use complete sentences to say things like “Look at that blue sky! Isn’t it pretty?” or “Oh, look! I see a bird flying!” Ask him what he sees, too. Point to a tree and say, “What is that called? Silly mommy can’t remember!” or even simpler things like “Should we go up or down the hill?”
7. Skip the ‘educational’ toys
While educational toys definitely have their place, for now you want child-led toys that don’t do all of the talking and teaching. You want your child to be doing the learning themselves. You do not want them focused on a toy with bright lights and noise. It can actually have a negative effect on a child with a speech delay. Think back to the good ole days when you were a child and there were minimal toys that lit up and made noise.
Don’t miss our free resources guide ► What Free Resources Are There for Coping with a Toddler Speech Delay?
Helping your child to develop words and language does not have to be work. In fact, it shouldn’t be work, for either one of you. There are so many times during the day that can be teachable and educational moments, just grab them!
What sort of activities have you done with your child who has a toddler speech delay? Help others out and share your stories with us below!