Looking for ways to boost your toddler’s speech? We’re sharing five easy parenting tips for helping your tiny tots overcome a speech delay based on our own experiences. Check them out!
Every so often when I’m talking with my 4-year-old son, I am overwhelmed by how well he speaks. I listen to him come up with incredible thoughts, properly use adverbs, and enunciate words just so, and I am awestruck that someone so small is capable of speaking the way he does.
I have to assume this is how parents feel with their first child even though he’s my second. With my first having developmental delays, speech is still a struggle for her. I also have to wonder, though, if the hours our family has logged with speech language pathologists have influenced the way my husband and I impacted our son’s speech.
If you have concerns about a speech delay, talk with your pediatrician to see if some outside assistance may be beneficial. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to focus on boosting your toddler’s speech with the following suggestions.
Parenting Tips to Boost Your Toddler’s Speech
- Model proper speech. I referenced that my son properly uses adverbs, and I feel a little cheer bubble up inside of me each time he does. I am a grammar nerd, and it’s important to me that my kids hear me speak the words I want them to use. Try to avoid baby talk with your toddler, too; it makes things more challenging for them if they learn an incorrect name for a common item.
- Limit screen time to the right screen time. Don’t worry – I’m not judging. My kids spend more time watching TV and playing with their tablets than I ever thought I would allow. You gotta do what you gotta do. If your little one is watching TV or playing with a tablet, pay attention to what they’re seeing. Educational programming for children is created to meet them where they are developmentally and help further that development. If you are interested in apps that may assist with a speech delay, there are some great ones out there.
- Narrate your day. Just talking to your child makes a world of difference. Start by simply narrating what you’re doing. Count the windows as you open the curtains each day and say, “Hello Monday!” During bath time, say “now I’m washing your foot. Wiggle your toes!” The more you speak, the more your little one will learn.
- Play together. Play is important – I’m sure that’s not news to you. Playing with your child allows you to practice sounds with her. While you make the toy snake slither toward her, ask what a snake says. Mimic the “hissssss” sound, and make eye contact with your child. Allow her to study your mouth, including the placement of your tongue and teeth, to get the “s” noise.
- Sing, and sing often. We love to sing in our house. When I’m struggling to get my kids to do something, we make up a silly song. I realized early on that my kids were both more receptive when I turned something into a song, and they also both have a good memory for the songs I create. Not only is singing fun, but it is also a great way to practice speech (and music has lots of other great benefits!).
Speech can be a struggle, but it’s also important to remember that there is a large span of “normal” development. Incorporate these ideas into your everyday routines, and you’ll feel confident that you’re doing what you can to boost your toddler’s speech as it develops. Good luck, and happy talking!