How to support your child’s speech, language and communication

Posted on 8th Oct 2018 in Speech and language disorders, School News, I CAN

Six essential tips from leading charity I CAN, which runs two specialist schools...

Did you know though that the size of a child’s vocabulary at age five is an indicator of later attainment and that early language skills at two years old predicts later emotional and behavioural ability? It’s easy when busy to let talk slip but supporting communication in the home will help your child speak to their teacher in nursery, read and make friends in school and later on be successful in GCSEs and the workplace.

There are several ways you can make the most of talking with your child whatever their age. Although a lot of language development happens between 0-5, continuing to nurture and support language is just as important for older children and young people. Some top tips include:

Join in with the things your child is interested in. This will show that you value them, help build their attention skills and encourage them to talk more.

Develop their vocabulary by helping them learn and remember new words. Talking about what words mean as well as thinking about the different sounds in the word will help increase the number of words they know and understand. Use new words more repetitively and in lots of different situations to help your child remember them.

Build on what your child says: if they are a toddler, repeat what they’ve said to you but add extra words. If they are an older child include more complex phrases, e.g. “I’m going to buy grandad some socks”, “Yes you’re going to buy Granddad some socks in order to keep his feet warm”.

Comment and prompt rather than ask questions and try to ask questions that require more than a yes/no answer, e.g rather than “Are you making some cakes?” say “What would you like to bake?”

Keep language clear so your child knows what you’re asking them to do. Give your child enough time to think about what you are saying. Sometimes it can take a few seconds for a child to process the words that you’ve used.

Finally make learning language fun. Enjoy talking and sharing experiences. Transitioning between settings adds lots of additional opportunities for discussing the impact and importance of decisions in a gentle way.

I CAN is the leading charity for children and young’s people’s speech, language and communication. We provide effective, practical evidenced based solutions that support all children’s communication development. For more information about I CAN visit www.ican.org.uk

If you have concerns about our child’s speech, language and communication you can talk to or email an I CAN speech and language therapist through the I CAN Help enquiry service. Call 020 7843 2544 or visit https://www.ican.org.uk/how-we-support-children/

For more information I CAN schools, click here.