Going for a walk, the Speech Friendly way

For parents, walking might be exercise or a chance to teach about nature.  But we want you to use taking a walk as a chance for your child to start a conversation about what interests her. Exercise and learning about nature are certainly important, but for now, shift your focus to the actions that will […]

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Routines that spark interaction

You can structure your daily routines to elicit responses from your child and in the process, build vocabulary and learn the basic rules of interaction, specifically: Respond when another person initiates Take a turn at the appropriate time Give the other person a chance to take a turn Choose an activity that stays the same from […]

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Start a conversation

“You don’t need special toys or activities to encourage your child’s language. You can have conversations at the grocery store about what you need to buy and pick out food together. You can talk about what you see as you go for a walk around the neighbourhood. And bath time is a great time for […]

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Use your voice

“And your voice can also help with word meanings – such as making your voice rise upwards as you say the word “up”.” Hanen

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Notice non-word talking

Any time an adult responds to a child’s message, either verbally or non-verbally, and the child responds back, an interaction has started. And it’s within these early back-and-forth interactions that the foundation for all of a child’s future conversations is built. From birth, children communicate using sounds, actions, eye gaze, and facial expressions. They don’t […]

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Use your face and hands

“Gesturing with your hands and face (such as pointing, shrugging your shoulders, or frowning) helps young children understand the meaning of your words.” Hanen

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Use simple, grammatical sentences

“Young children benefit from hearing proper sentences (like “give it to Mommy” or “do you want a cookie?”), as opposed to sentences that have missing words (like “ta ta Mommy” or “baby want cookie?”). The grammar in sentences helps young children figure out what the words mean and how they are used together.” Hanen

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Pause and watch for your turn to talk

Pause and wait for your child to send you messages. “When it’s your turn to talk, talk about what interests your child. By following your child’s lead, you let him know that you are interested in what he has to say, which will make him want to have longer conversations with you.” Hanen

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Break old habits

You might need to break some old habits: Questions that feel like taking a test Praise instead of participating in the conversation Helping too soon instead of letting the child try to work it out Don’t just observe or be tuned out Leave your child to play alone Leaving TV on as background noise

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Join in and play

Be sure not to change the play. Try to play the way your child enjoys playing. You can join in by: doing what your child is doing – Copy what your child does with his toy. Sarah’s mom noticed that Sarah was hugging her doll, so she did the same thing with her own doll. […]

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