Monday, January 28, 2019

5 Ways to Support Your Child's Language Development

Every parent wants to provide the best opportunities for their child to reach their highest potential.  Children typically say their first word around 12 months of age and rapidly increase their vocabulary and use there after.  Let's chat about 5 ways to support the development of their language before and after 12 months of age

1. Narrate your day

  • The more the words the child hears in their early life the better.  Narrating your day provides multiple opportunities for the child to be exposed to a variety of vocabulary words.  Examples might be "I put the ducky in the water" while giving a bath or " I want yellow bananas" while at the grocery store.  Great times to narrate are while cooking, driving in the car, grocery shopping, dressing the child, sorting the laundry 

2. Create Routines

  • Creating routines provides consistent language and predictability throughout their day. Routines gives a great way to teach the child new words and phrases.  Establish routines with consistent actions and words into smaller steps.  As the child learns the routine, wait to see if they complete the next step with an expectant pause.  

3. Use more statements than questions

  • It can be so easy to find yourself asking many questions to your child, " What is that?", "What are you doing?", "What did Elmo say?".  By changing these into statement "That is a cow.", "You are jumping high." or "Elmo said GO!" This encourages vocabulary development and the use of language.  The child will also be more likely to repeat what you said 

4. Don't give them everything they need at once

  • A great example of this would be playing with a puzzle.  Provide one puzzle piece at a time or have them ask for each puzzle piece.  This can provide the opportunity to learn new vocabulary or practice using the vocabulary.  During meal times, having the child request for "more" is a great introductory skill

5.  Give choices

  • Providing the child with choices inherently implies they are to respond.  At the same time, this is a great time for vocabulary development and practice for using the vocabulary by providing them with the name of the items.  A great example of this would be with food, "Do you want the apple or cracker?" while showing the items as you name them.  

If you find yourself wondering more about these strategies and curious of other ways to support your child's language development feel free to contact Building Blocks Therapy Services at (616) 666-6396 or visit

Courtney Joesel MA CCC-SLP is the owner and clinician at Building Blocks Therapy Services in Grand Rapids, MI.  

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