1 Before children can say a word, they need to understand the word. Before they can understand the word, they need to experience it. Try and give your child different experiences – colour, shape, size, sound, feel, taste, movement and emotion.
2Have “Talking Time” for at least 10 minutes a day. During that time, make sure you switch off the telly, the stereo, the washing machine and the hoover and make the room as quiet as possible. For those 10 minutes, let your child choose a game, a book, an activity or even the topic of conversation and you just join in. Talk to your child about what you’re doing and have a conversation about it.
3Be face to face with your child. Try to bend down, sit down or bob down so that you can keep eye contact with your child. If your child’s staring at your knees, he or she will lose interest because knees are very boring things! If you keep eye contact, your child will know you are interested and you can see if your child is still interested too.
4Encourage your child’s listening skills. Turn off all the sounds in your house that you can think of and just listen. Ask your child what sounds he or she can hear – it might be a clock ticking, a car outside, children playing outside or an aeroplane overhead. You can also do this when you’re outside walking with your child – ask your child what sounds he or she can hear and what the sounds are.
5Sing with your child – rhymes and songs are fantastic for encouraging speech development. Don’t worry about how well you sing, you don’t need to be ‘Adele’ for your child to enjoy it.
6A child that is brought up in a family where people are interested in what he or she has to say will be more likely to try to talk. A child that sees other people chatting and having fun doing so will want to have fun doing the same. A child that discovers amazing things about the world , names of things and how things work, will ask more questions and learn more. A child that knows lots of words and can talk in sentences will find it easier to learn to read…so talk to your child….its the most important skill you can give.