Learning how to talk is a big part of your child's early development. You'll want him or her to at least be on par with peers by the time they reach school age and then you'll notice further progression as they begin their education. If you want to give your toddler or child a great start on speech development, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Listen to What They Say and Repeat It Back
This might seem odd as a tip because you listen to your child, right? Well, it can be easy sometimes for parents to halfway tune their children out when they start going on about some kind of random nonsense. This is especially true if you are focused on the television or some other task in the home. But when your child speaks to you, try to engage with them as much as possible. Listen to how they are pronouncing words, and you'll be able to gently correct them if needed. To be clear, you don't tell your child they are wrong; you simply say the same word back to them in the correct way. Do this enough times, and your child will pick up on the cue.
Use Good Speech Yourself
Nearly everyone these days uses slang or abbreviations, and half of the text messages some young people receive have more emojis than actual letters. Most children are more observant than their parents think they are. They will pick up on the way Mom and Dad talk to each other or to other people while they are around. Try your best to model good speech by using the correct, formal pronunciation of most words instead of falling into casual slang. With a little luck, your child will model your very adult way of saying things.
Seek Out Therapy If Needed
Some children need a little extra help to get certain sounds or noises down. Maybe they can't say a hard "R" or they have trouble placing their tongue on their front teeth to make the "Th" sound in "The" or "That." If you notice your child is having issues saying certain words because of a specific sound, you can certainly try to work with your child on this yourself, but it might be best to get professional help. A pediatric speech therapy provider will be able to get your child back up to speed and on par with his or her classmates.