How Can I Support My Child’s Speech and Language?

Enrichment Therapies

December 13, 2023

mom and son playing with dinosaurs

By: Kaylie Wright, M.A., CCC-SLP

If your child’s speech is delayed, you might have wondered if there are any ways you can aid their speech development. Lucky for you there are many ways you can help and playing with them is one of the best.

Play has such an important role in the development of children and it can be a great tool to facilitate speech and language. Play allows children to explore the world around them and relate their experiences and knowledge to real life. It helps foster problem-solving, imagination, willingness to try new things, social skills, flexibility and so much more. 

Here are a few suggestions to guide you when playing with your child to promote the most growth.

Encourage Speech Sounds

When encouraging speech sounds during play, getting down on your child’s level can be so helpful. Your child will be able to hear the sounds that you are producing more clearly than when you are across the room. When you are down on their level, they are also able to see HOW you are making some sounds. Getting down to their level will encourage them to play with you and will lead to more speech and language-rich activities. 

Remember to Wait 

Wait time can be challenging, however, it is so important for early communicators. When doing an activity that happens over and over such as tickles or swinging, pause the activity from time to time. While paused, wait and look at the child expectantly. Doing this will help encourage your child to “tell” you to continue and will teach your child the power of communication! 

Model New Words 

No matter what activity/toys your child chooses, you can model new words and sounds. Repetition is key, so choose 1-2 words/phrases to repeat during a play session. If the word/phrase can be used in multiple settings, that’s even better! Some great examples that can be used across multiple settings include: go fast, my turn, I like it! It can be helpful to use short phrases and speak clearly. 

Offer Choices 

Your child may like and feel empowered by choices. They are able to communicate their preference and then they are rewarded by getting what they want. When offering choices say the words of the items being offered and again, repeat, repeat, repeat! You can say the word before they choose, when they choose, and after they choose. Remember to say the word(s) clearly so as to be easily understood. 

Fewer Questions, More Talking 

It can be difficult to not use a lot of questions when you want your child to say new words and sounds. Your child learns a lot when you give information, as opposed to asking for information. Instead of saying, “What are you doing?” You can comment, “Oh, you’re making the car go fast!” It can be helpful to comment on things that your child is interested in to make it fun and exciting for them. 

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center Offers Individualized Speech Support

Every child is different and some children respond better to some strategies than others. It is so important to find a Speech Language Pathologist to help you navigate the ins and outs of communication! Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center provides individualized speech and language support in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center, our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Suite A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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