Using The Magic Of Routines To Support Language Development


Do you have concerns about your young child’s speech or language development? If so, it’s no wonder — according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, language delays are the most common types of developmental delays. If you’re concerned about your child’s communication development, know that you are your child’s best teacher and in the first few years of life, your child will learn more from you than anyone else. Try some of these ideas today:

Create a daily routine and make it as consistent as possible. You don’t have to do things the exact same way every day, but look to create a general pattern to your day with small rituals or “mini routines” throughout. When activities happen in about the same order and in the same way every day, this provides your child with the stability that comes with being able to predict what will happen next. When children feel this stability, they are ready to learn.

Prioritize time for books in your daily routine. Reading to your young child is important for so many reasons, but did you know that how you read to your child matters? Interactive reading, or shared book reading, is not just fun but it can also foster development of early speech, language and literacy skills.

Interactive reading involves much more than just reading the words in a book. Name pictures you see as you point to them, talk about what characters are doing, and talk about the colors you see. Keep your sentences short and simple, and add complexity as your child develops. Vary the tone, pitch, and volume of your voice to match different characters and watch how your child responds. Now, repeat, repeat, repeat! Children love to hear the same books read over and over. Keep things fresh by pausing at the end of a line in the book to see if your child can fill in the last word. Ask your child to “read” the book to you and see what happens!

Meals and snacks are already part of your daily routine, so take advantage of these great opportunities for language growth. Try to eat meals together, when possible. Your child will naturally observe your conversations with other family members and will benefit from all of that language modeling. Offer choices for what your child may eat, as long as you're comfortable with both options. Help your child point or use a word to communicate his or her choice. For highly desired foods, serve small amounts at once and help your child ask for “more.” Try serving these preferred items in closed containers so your child can ask for “help.”

Concerned about your child’s speech or language development? Don’t delay in taking action. Kid Connections Therapy in Severna Park is launching an eight-week virtual language enrichment program in which families learn at their own pace to support their young children’s language development. Contact 410-274-0041 to learn more about the Family Connections program or for more information about receiving an evaluation for speech therapy services.


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