It's amazing how much a child's speech develops in the toddler and preschool years. Especially, from ages 2-4. Building strong speech skills in your toddler will benefit her later in life. As a parent, you can help your toddler flourish in speech development!
Here are 20 ways you can help your toddler or preschooler’s speech development to flourish:
Talk to him about everything! Talk to your child about what you're doing, what you see, what clothes you've picked out for her, what color his cup is, etc.
Make eye contact when you speak to your child.
Hold the item you are talking about close to your mouth so your child can see how the word is formed.
Point out colors.
Name animals and encourage your child to make the sounds of each animal.
Listen to your child. Listening may not seem like it’s that important to language development but when you listen, you are encouraging your child to speak.
Look at your child when she talks to you.
Ask a lot questions.
Expand on what your child says. If your child says, "milk" or "more milk" you can respond with, "Yes, you can have more milk" Or "Do you want more milk?"
Speak clearly and like an adult. Refrain from using "baby talk" with your child. If your child makes up his own "baby" for something, you can use it but make sure to say the correct word in the same sentence.
Make a photo book of friends and family to look through and talk about with your child.
Sing a lot of songs.
Use items to tell stories about things you've done. For example, remind your child about the time you went to the farm when he plays with his toy farm. Or who gave her a certain shirt or toy.
Go on frequent outings. New experiences will give you and your child new things to talk about.
Repeat your child using correct grammar rather than correcting. If your child says a word incorrectly or uses the wrong tense in grammar, instead of correcting your child just repeat the word or phrase used correctly. Your child will eventually catch on!
Play with your child. Never underestimate the power of play.
Set up play dates with children who have more advanced speech. Sometimes we can get caught up in comparing our children to others and even can feel bad when another child seems to be more advanced. Instead of feeling down about it, invite that other child over for a play date or make a conscious effort to have your child around older children.
Read with your child. Even if your child can't hang on every word of your fabulous storytelling, you can still use "reading" time to encourage language development. Point out objects in the book and have your child do the same. Say, "I see (fill in the blank)" and encourage your child to do the same, focusing on getting your child to say more than one word. So, "I see a ball" rather than "ball".
Always respond to your child.