|Children learn language best against a background of silence. Although this may not always be possible try to limit noise when playing and talking with your child. Too many toys at any one time can be distracting. Choose a few different toys for the day and encourage your child to play with these. You can change the toys the following day
|Let your child choose the toy or activity and lead the play. Your job is to follow their lead. You will find that they probably stay with it longer and your language will be more meaningful to them. Watch carefully to see what your child is actually doing and copy their action or sound.
|Try not to ask unnecessary questions. Only ask questions you really don’t know the answer to rather than questions that ‘test’ such as ‘what’s this?’ This can make your child feel under pressure to answer. Remember to wait and look at what your child is doing with the toys. Then comment using very simple language to match what your child is looking at or playing with eg. ‘bricks…more... bricks…building a tower…up up…oh crash!
|Even if you know your child understands it is important that they hear a simple model of language. Listen to what they are using and use this as your guide. If your child is only using a few single words only use single words and two word phrases when playing yourself.
|Allow your child time. If you speak to them allow them time to respond before you speak again. Try silently counting to 10 before you speak.
|Show them how to put words together. When your child attempts a word, repeat it but add another word to show them how words link together eg.’car’ becomes ‘car driving’ or ‘mummy’s car’. If they use two words together repeat and add another one to make a 3 word phrase.