Easy tricks for speech and language development
Even though the first speech and language milestone is not until your baby is 12 months old, there is still so much that is happening with their speech and language before they say their first word! Below are 5 easy tricks you can use when engaging with your baby to encourage their speech and language development before they turn 1!
Use simple language and sound models! Simplifying your speech to 1-2 words or even simply syllable shapes (bubuh instead of bubble!) can help engage your child and give them a simple model to copy!
Use of musical instruments! Using bells, drums, cymbals to imitate play and model exaggerated sounds is a great way to promote speech and language. When playing with instruments, model the sounds as well as the words! For example, hitting the drum can be "bang-bang!"
Play with sounds! Don't be afraid to get silly! It is natural for us as adults to use complicated language and label everything by name. Children are more likely to engage with you if you are silly and playing with sounds promotes speech and articulation growth!
Encourage 2-way conversation! If your child is babbling to you, gesturing, or using baby sign, be sure to respond and "take turns" in conversation! An easy response is "tell me more!"
Present your child with slow singing of songs with repetitive lines and sounds! Nursery rhymes are great for this! Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc. You can also add an expectant pause at the end to help encourage your baby to "fill in the space" and participate in the routine of the song! For example, "the wheels on the bus go round and _____round!"
Note: if your child is not babbling and has not said their first word by 16 months, please reach out to a speech language pathologist!