There is nothing as sweet as hearing the sound of a child's voice. The mumbled talking, babbling, and laughter all reveal what the child is thinking inside—as well as how the child is developing.
But what if you don't hear that lovely sound? What if your child cannot say what he or she wants to say?
The child could simply have a hard time pronouncing words, sounds, and letters. However, it can also be a more serious issue such as a speech disorder or developmental problem. The only way to know is by visiting a speech language pathologist (or speech therapist).
Aside from visiting a speech therapist, consider using these four tips to help improve your child's speech habits:
1. Talk to Your Child at Their Level
Look at how you are communicating with your child. How often do you talk to your children when they are not looking? If you don't know, don't worry. Most parents do not pay attention to how they talk with their child, but it is important—especially for those with children suffering from a speech issue.
Pay attention in the future and make an effort to talk to your child face-to-face. Get down on their level by sitting or kneeling, and look directly at them while you speak. It may seem simple, but this quick tip helps your child see your face while you speak. They can watch your mouth and facial expressions as you speak; and this can help them learn how to speak—or at the very least, improve their speech.
2. Talk Often
During early development, children mimic the people around them. This means that they will watch and mimic what their parents do and say. If you want to improve your child's speech habits, talk to them more. You do not need to have a full blown conversation, but at least make a point to speak directly to your child.
You can even make talking a game by naming off colors they see, toys they play with, or even shapes they see. You can sing songs with repetitive words or themes. You can also read to them every night. No matter how you do it, make sure you are talking to—and with—your child often.
3. Rethink Toys
Children are little sponges that are constantly soaking up new information. Like everything else, they learn speech through daily routines and play. If your child is having issues with speech, consider rethinking their toys. Today's toys are complex and often do all of the thinking for your child.
As a good rule of thumb, avoid toys with batteries. Instead, fill your child's toy boxes with open-ended play toys—these are toys that inspire creativity and can be used in various ways. Legos, Lincoln logs, blocks, and toy phones are all good options.
4. Enlist the Help of a Professional
If you are very worried about your child's speech, consider taking your child to a speech therapist. There are several early intervention problems that help your child learn and play more effectively; thus teaching them better communication skills.
Depending on the severity of the problem, the therapist may also recommend using alternative techniques such as sign language.
With regular communication, plenty of play, and professional help, your child should soon be a talkative toddler like all their playmates. Contact a professional such as Felix M. DiPalma, M.S. for more information.