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According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), there are anywhere from six to eight million people in the US with a language impairment. Your baby’s first six months are an integral time for them to start developing their speech and language skills. Yep, babbling is important too!
In expressing communication through the human language, it’s important to use signs, make gestures, and perceive the sounds that all make up communicating. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to help improve your child’s speech and language skills creatively.
1. Sing With Your Child
Singing to or with your child can greatly enhance their speech and language skills. It’s not enough to just sit them in front of the television and expect Dora or Sesame Street to teach them what they need to know. They need to see you form your lips and hear you sing the words. Singing is a great way to capture a child’s interest, and, in turn, help them with their motor skills as well. Who doesn’t want to dance to a catchy tune?
2. Read to Them Every Day and Night
Read to your child every chance you get. You’re introducing new words to them and getting them into the habit of reading, instead of watching television all day. Many parents read only at night to their child. This develops a habit that reading is only for nighttime. The earlier you read to your child to develop their language skills, the faster they will develop their literacy skills. And there are so many books available to improve speech and language skills for our little ones. The selection is endless, so it’s plenty to give you something to read day and night.
3. Get Them Active
I found a few cute ideas for articulation on Parents.com. Working on your child’s mouth muscles will help them formulate new words easier. So, instead of boring methods of trying to get your child to do so, get them active!
- Put your child in front of a mirror as well as yourself. Both of you can watch you say certain words and your child repeating them. It’s not only fun to make the faces in the mirror, but they can see exactly how they form their words. This is another great way to start those nursery rhymes!
- There are some consonants you need to really emphasize, so much in fact you’re blowing air out of your mouth. Take the letter “P” for instance. Place a tissue or other soft, colorful paper in front of your child’s mouth as she practices making the sound for P. The tissue will move if they do it right. This should make for tons of giggles.
- Your child can also have fun with food and sounds! A sticky substance such as peanut butter can be placed behind their front teeth of their tongue to touch before saying words that begin with the letters T and D.
4. Play Games
Games can be fun and an integral part of your child’s development of speech and language skills. Be sure to get them games that help them follow directions, go on scavenger hunts (getting familiar with words of objects around the house), and play on a toy telephone (gets them interested in talking and holding conversations).
What have you done to help improve your baby’s speech and language skills? Were you ever concerned they were delayed in learning?