Ten Top Tips for Parents and Carers to Encourage their Children’s Communication Development

A woman is looking down at a child in her arms

Read some of my top tips so you can make your communication as effective as possible. You’ll be able to make the most out of everyday opportunities to support your child’s speech, language and communication development.

  1. We need to go beyond the child’s needs. Think about their interests and what they may want to communicate. If they can express their wants, they are more likely to be motivated. Motivation is a big factor to ensure successful outcomes in therapy.
  2. Practice really does make perfect. So, 10 minutes twice daily is more effective than an hour every two weeks. To begin with, practise these strategies in a structured activity and then, when you’re comfortable, you can begin to generalise them to other contexts in your child’s life.
  3. Add an element of play into your communication. Make it exciting!! You could add suspense or anticipation. You could use exaggeration to add to the drama, or you could simply change the pace to add a different dimension to your interaction.
  4. Use the ‘wait’ from the OWL strategy to see if your child initiates or makes a request.
  5. Create a list of these requests that your child responds well to. You will be able to notice any patterns and create more of these opportunities to give your child more success.
  6. Talk about the rhythm in everyday experiences such as tapping your foot or describe the rhythm of the washing machine or dishwasher. Try to find everyday sounds in your child’s environment that you can talk about.
  7. Add a gesture to the sound or rhythm. We know that a lot of children are visual learners so adding a gesture will support their understanding and use of language.
  8. Ensure you look animated and this will encourage your child to participate.
  9. Learn to create opportunities for your child every day.
  10. Remember that we are not forcing our children to participate. We are simply making the activity irresistible. Above all, remember communication should be fun, so be creative!!

You may feel like you need some reassurance, someone to check in with to make sure you’re maximising these opportunities. Feel free to contact me.

Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.

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