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  • 22 Apr, 2023
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6 Top Tips to Boost Your Child’s Speech

This ‘6 top tips’ blog turned out to be harder than expected. Earlier this week a mother inquired about speech help for her 2 1/2 year old. This is not the age group my courses are intended for.

I did have some free resources for the mum so these were emailed to her, with the advice to come back to me in a year if she still had concerns. Now that I’ve said that, children under 4 aren’t the age group my courses are for either, generally.

Using a child’s age to determine what will be helpful or not is just a general indication, because it is actually all about where the child is at in terms of development. This can be tricky to determine.

For the sake of ease, these tips are for children who are already speaking in 3-5 word sentences (around about that).

  1. Look at their face, in their eyes, as much as you can when you are speaking to them. Obviously, don’t do this while driving but when it is feasible, do this. Child learn by copying us and they are watching our lips to see what they do when we speak (side note – this is why the G, CK/C sound can be one of the last sounds to develop because it is made in the back of our throat and they can’t see what’s happening back there). They are also reading our facial expression to see if it matches up with our tone. They are very clever creatures, children, and they can certainly pick up a tone of voice that is false. They may not be able to understand what they are hearing and this will cause confusion so try to match what you say with what you mean.
  1.  If they make a mistake with a sound you can repeat it correctly for them. For example; if they say “Can I drink vis please” you say back “yes, you can drink THis if you want”. Making sure they can see what your lips and teeth are doing as they create the correct TH sound.
  1. Expand on their sentences. If they say “Want that” as they point to a truck you say “Would you like the truck?” this is giving them the opportunity to build on from 3 to 5 word sentences.
  1. Chat! Chat away with them as you go about your day, when they are with you. Some adults find this hard, but just saying it out loud, what it is that you are doing, gives the children opportunities to reinforce everything has a name, words for actions, describing things. You may feel a bit silly, but this is really valuable to building up a child’s vocab as they grow. I was told once that a child who is only given instructions up to the age of 5 will not have the vocab to hold a conversation by the time they are 14.
  1. Make sure your language is correct. As it’s been mentioned previously, children copy what we do so making sure your speech is as accurate as you can make it, then you can be sure your child’s speech will be developing well.
  1. Eat around the dinner table and no tech allowed at the table while you eat, including turning the TV off. Apparently, 700 words a minute are lost when you have the TV on or tech at the table while you eat dinner.

These tips were to help in case you think your child’s speech may be delayed for whatever reason. They will help your child learn how to articulate sounds correctly, build up their vocab (essential for learning to read and write later on). In some cases it will even accelerate your child’s speech. If they are gifted in terms of speech these tips will boost their speech even more.

If you do have a concern that your child is non-verbal try these tips and at the same time ask for a referral to a speech language therapist at your GP or if your child is at an early childcare centre/kindergarten.

My book, Say It Clearly is available on Amazon that will help you give speech and voice training to your child.

The online courses have videoed examples of exercises to  follow to help your child’s speech, from around age 4. There are free previews to see if your child likes this type of learning.

Have a great week, Miriam.