What Parents Can Do...
Here are a few ideas to help encourage your child's communication skills:
- Read to your child and have your child read to you. Talk about the pictures, characters and the story. You can have your child "act-out" the story or tell it back to you. While you are reading ask your child what they think will happen next. Ask questions about characters, etc. Do not forget that you can go to the library to make reading a fun part of your child's life.
- encourage your child to use language to express his/her feelings, ideas, dreams, wishes and fears.
- Encourage your child to be an active participant in conversations by asking open-ended questions. Don't forget to model appropriate eye contact, facial/body gestures, turn-taking, and topic maintenance.
- Set aside time every day when just you and your child can talk and carry on a conversation with no distractions.
- Have your child practice singing songs and rhyming. Make rhyming into a game or read rhyming books (i.e. Dr. Seuss books)
- Model grammatically correct sentences that utilize a variety of grammar. Examples of grammar are: past tense verbs (walked, swam), plurals (shirts, mice)and conjunctions (and, or, but).
- Structure your communication with your child so that you both take balanced turns. (like ping-pong)
- Don't anticipate your child's needs and wants. Encourage your child to communicate.
- Help your child write a story with pictures.
- Play games with your child that involve reasoning and conversation. (i.e. Guess Who, Mystery Garden, I Spy)
- Work on building your child's vocabulary by labeling items, talking about functions as well as using synonyms (hat/cap) and antonyms (up/down).
- Ask your child to classify objects and make comparisons. You can have your child sort items by color, size, etc. Then ask your child to state comparisons between the different groups.
- Have your child follow multi-step (2 or more) directions. If your child is have difficulty, give directions one at at time using simple words.