As Speech and Language Therapists our job is to support the development of children’s speech, language and communication skills. Traditional speech and language therapy for children was focussed on the therapist working directly with the child as the parent sat in the background. However this has changed and the key role played by the parent in supporting their child’s development is now widely recognised. By providing parents with knowledge about how language skills develop, giving effective strategies for language development alongside coaching and mentoring Speech and Language Therapists can help parents help theirchild achieve their potential. Caregiver/parents are the most important people in their child’s life when it comes to development and this makes parents the very best teachers.
While we as Speech and Language Therapists know lots about how to get children talking, parents are in a better position to implement language development strategies. Parents are with their child most of the time. This means parents have lots of opportunities to support their child’s language development as children learn language best in familiar routines in their daily environment. Parents are in the best position to offer theirchild a language rich environment, much more so than a Speech and Language Therapist can do in a short therapy session. Parents and their children have a special bond and parents know how to engage their child best. They know what will work and what will motivate them. If parents can implement some simple language development strategies they can create this language rich environment easily at home. This will make language development easy, relaxed and most of all fun.
Top tips for creating a language rich environment at home:
-Talk to your child throughout the day, commenting on what you are doing, for example ‘time to sweep the floor, let’s get the sweeping brush and dustpan’
-Be curious about your child’s individual interests and have conversations about these topic. Try not bombard your child with too many questions.
-Read to your child every-day. By reading books to your child you expose them to a huge range of vocabulary that doesn’t often come up in daily conversation.
For more information on how to help develop your child’s speech and language skills check out these blog posts. Follow Talking Buddies on Instagram and Facebook for up to date tips on how to help your child’s speech and language development.