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  • Alison Wimmer

Creating a talkative talker =)

Updated: Sep 22, 2019

Teaching Language to your Child

Children need a quiet environment to listen and learn in, noisy environments may seem normal to you but can hinder the child's attention and ability to focus. Keep extraneous noise to a minimum. See also Safe and Sound Protocol on my site.

Tv can help a child learn to speak. Earlier versions of Sesame Street and other shows with real children talking will benefit them much more than watching shows with cartoon characters whose mouths don't even move. It is also helpful for you to watch shows with your child so you and engage and encourage them to actively participate.

Using shows like "the Grinch" on repeat can actually hinder your child's speech development. You need to be able to provide them with new information all of the time. When a child watches the same show over and over, they are not getting any new information and will likely begin to stim on it or "zone out".

Comment more, question less.

Talking to your child and labeling things for them constantly, more so than asking "what is that", is another great way to feed them new information. IF you want to broaden your child's knowledge you much provide them with new words and concepts on a very regular basis. They can only reproduce what they have been taught. Teach new things at a rapid rate, rather than testing your child constantly.

Sometimes, forcing a child to say something in order to get something can backfire. When a child is asked to say a word and it is difficult for them, they may become emotional. When a child becomes emotional it actually shuts down the language center of the brain.

You can combat this by accepting a try, an approximation, or a whisper of the word and lots of praise. The child will respond by becoming more confident and will become less emotional, therefore will use the words independently.

Give your child time to process the question or word. Asking them again and again only frustrates them as they are having to start thinking from the start of the question each time you ask it. Ofter children need extra time to understand a question and think of their answer. Wait a few seconds and let that process happen. It will take the frustration out of the situation for the child and he will likely be more successful.

Speak slowly and clearly when reaching new words, so the child can see and hear the mechanics of the words. Speech and language are both auditory and visual. To be good at something it takes time and patience, but the "pay off" is wonderful!

Once language skills are developed, continue with the following methods:

Helping Your Child to Develop and Expand on Their Skills for Language

Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, last, left and right), also opposites (up/down, big/little).

Offer a description or clues and have your child identify what you are describing.

Work on forming things into categories (fruits, bugs, vehicles).

Follow your child’s directions as he or she explains how to do something

Give full attention to your child when they are speaking, and acknowledge, and encourage them afterward. Before you speak to your child, be sure to get their attention. Pause after speaking to allow them to respond to you.

Build on their vocabulary, provide definitions for new words, and relate them to something tangible, that your child can understand.

Encourage your child to ask questions regarding a word or concept they don’t understand.

Point out things that are the same or different. Play games incorporating these concepts that they will encounter in reading readiness.

Sort items into categories. Then try to sort them by pointing out more subtle differences between objects (rocks that are smooth, things that are shiny, things that are heavy). Ask them how to explain why the item does not belong.

Expand on social communication and narration skills by role-playing.

Read stories with easy to follow plots. Help your child predict what will happen next in the story. Act out the stories, have your child draw a picture of a scene in the story, or of their favorite part. You can do the same thing with videos and tv shows. Ask “wh” questions, and help them with their responses.


Expand on your child’s comprehension and language skills.

Playing games like “I Spy”.

You can give your child two-step directions that are unrelated. Things like, “stand up, blow kiss”.

Encourage your child to give directions to explain how he has made something, such as a block structure.

When playing with a kitchen set, ask her how she baked the apple pie.

Draw a picture together and write a story as he or she tells it to you, then make a book.

Play a game with simple rules. Winning and losing is a good lesson. As is cheering on the other player.

Have your child help you plan and discuss daily activities. Making a grocery list for things you need to bake a cake or make a meal for the family.


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Alison and Matthew Wimmer

Developmental & Behavioral Consultants