When children come into the world, parents worry about everything that happens to them, it is normal. When we become parents we want our children to develop properly and to be able to grow in all aspects. There is an area that parents pay more attention to than others -although it should not be compared because each child is a world and has their own evolutionary rhythm-, such as in the area of the child’s language and speech.
All parents want to hear sooner or later how their children start talking, but regardless of whether it takes more or less , there are some activities you can do with your children to encourage speech development. If you have a child between zero and six years old who has not yet begun to speak or who does, all the activities that I explain below will be of interest to you.
Activities to promote language in children from 2 to 6 years old
From 0 to 2 years old
- Encourage your baby to say vowels and consonants by encouraging him to repeat sounds like ‘ma’, ‘pa’, ‘da’, ‘ba’…
- Reinforce attempts to maintain eye contact every time you want to show how you respond speech and imitation of vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, you can raise the tone of your voice when you are going to ask a question.
- Imitate your baby’s laughter and facial expressions.
- Teach your baby to imitate actions – clapping hands, throwing kisses, playing with fingers, etc.
- Speak to your baby as if he understood you, explain everything you do with him -when you bathe him, when you feed him, when you are dressing him, when you go out for a walk, what you will do during the day, who you will see, etc-.
- Name the objects, the colors, count to 3, etc.
- Use the gestures with word ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.
- Introduce the sounds of animals.
- Recognize when your child wants to communicate.
- Read stories to your child and show him the images.
From 2 to 4 years
- Use good speech and speak clearly and simply to be a good conversational model.
- Repeat what your child says to show you understand.
- Build your child’s sentences and say the correct words after he says them, without needing to indicate what he says wrong, he will just learn it.
- Group family pictures and show them indicating the name of each one and the characteristics. You can also do the same with other things to expand vocabulary such as pictures of desserts, fruits, things to play with, things around the house, etc.
- Read stories to your children, show them the pictures and let them tell what you think.
- Expand your child’s vocabulary. For example, you can name the parts of the body and say something like: ‘This is my nose, with my nose I can smell the flowers’.
- Help your child understand and ask questions with yes-or games. no. For example: ‘Are you a boy?’, ‘Does a bird fly?’
- Sing simple songs to show rhythm and encourage a pattern of expression.
- Place familiar objects in a container, have your child take out the objects and tell you what it is called and then tell you how to use it.
- Use pictures of familiar people and places.
De 4 to 6 years old
- When your child talks to you, give him your full attention.
- Show that you understand his words or phrases.
- Make a pause after speaking to allow your child to continue the conversation.
- Continue to build vocabulary.
- Talk about spatial relationships – first, second, left and right – and opposites -up, down, on, off…-
- Help your child follow simple instructions with no more than three steps, for example: ‘Go to your room and get my book’ .
- Provides descriptions and clues about things For example, ‘It’s cold, so I’ll get a blanket to keep warm.’
- Read stories to your child, talk about the characters, the story, etc. Let him ask you questions and answer him in simple sentences.
- Encourage your child to say the names of everyday things and explain their characteristics.
Remember, the way the one that children learn best is by playing.