You wouldn’t be a good parent if you didn’t worry about your kids. But when are you right to have concerns about development?
Language learning is a huge task to master for any child. If you’re concerned about your child’s speech or vocabulary development, check out these tips.
Here are nine ways Great Speech can help.
1. Practice Reading
The more a child reads, the more they get exposed to new words that we don’t use in everyday speech. There are also opportunities to stop and explain words.
Whether we are doing reading exercises during your online speech therapy session or you are reading to your child at home, your child can ask questions. Explaining what words they’ve never heard mean can help improve reading comprehension and develop vocabulary.
2. Talk To Your Child
It can be tedious to converse with a small child all day long. Sometimes it’s even frustrating for only a few minutes because a child isn’t as mature in their social skills as adults. You can get bored fast, or ignore them.
Talking to a child helps them learn new vocabulary. We can converse with your child during their online therapy session and teach them new words like you can at home.
If they are asking you the same question over and over, try asking them a question to redirect the conversation. Toddlers and kids have short attention spans (which we know and can work with during their session). Make the most of their time by switching directions to cut your frustration and keep them talking.
3. Give Simple Definitions
If you use big words to define other big words, a child won’t understand what you’re saying. To give a good explanation, use small words to give simple definitions. We do the same thing when we conduct online therapy sessions.
Help a child remember a word’s definitions using words they already know. For example, if you are defining the word “minuscule,” it’s enough to say that it means “something really, really small.”
As their vocabulary develops, they’ll know more and more words you can use (and we can, during a session) to define new words.
4. Give Basic Examples
When a child hears a definition of a new word, it can help them to hear an example, too. Give a basic example that they will understand, something from their life that makes sense. This is what Great Speech can do during an online therapy session, too.
For the word “minuscule,” try explaining that when they eat a Teddy Graham, it’s minuscule compared to a whole graham cracker. We come up with basic examples that kids can understand to help them develop their vocabulary.
5. Be Clear
Children can get confused when you use a word that sounds the same as another word. To you the words are different, but a child who can’t read yet won’t understand.
To help a child understand what you mean, tell them which thing you mean. For example, if you say, “nail,” explain that you mean the kind of metal nail you hit with a hammer, not a fingernail.
This is the type of differentiation we can do with your child during an online therapy session, too. Confirming which word we mean helps vocabulary development.
6. Say It Several Times
A child needs to hear a new word 4-12 times before it gets added to their vocabulary. Pay attention to how often you use a new word with them. Make sure not to expect them to know it right away.
During an online speech therapy session with Great Speech, we can help explain words many times. We have patience with your children, and we introduce words several times to help with vocabulary development.
7. Let the Child Lead Vocabulary Development
The old maxim of pulling teeth is still the best visual sometimes. Making a child do something they don’t want to do isn’t worth the trouble.
Let the child direct the vocabulary development. Whatever they’re interested in will help them stay engaged. Use words that are part of their varying interests, rather than new words they don’t care about.
We do the same thing with online therapy sessions. We can explore your child’s interests and spend time talking with them and building vocabulary centered around their hobbies.
8. Let the Child Respond
Whether it’s coming up with their own example or asking a question, children need time to respond. Learning involves digesting new information, not only receiving it. After you explain something it’s a good idea to wait a beat or two for the child to catch up.
They may come up with their own example after you give one. They may ask a question to clarify or help them understand. Be open to their speed of comprehension when you’re talking about new words.
We can work in a similar way during the exercises of an online therapy session at Great Speech. Part of developing vocabulary is ensuring a good grasp of the new word.
9. Don’t Move Too Fast
Like Goldilocks in the story of the three bears, your child must find the level of growth that is “just right” for them. Too many new vocabulary words at a time can overwhelm and discourage them. Make sure you aren’t trying to move too fast when introducing new ideas.
We can track your child’s progress and gauge whether they are ready to move on with online therapy sessions. We can also adjust based on their needs. Helping a child learn new vocabulary means moving at the right speed for them.
Being a concerned parent is hard. There is so much to worry about, and vocabulary development is only one on a long list.
From doing exercises with clear, basic definitions and examples to moving at the right speed, online speech therapy sessions with Great Speech can help. Your child will build a treasure trove of new words and you’ll be speechless at their growth.