Ideas for building communicationfrom: The Hanen Centre www.hanen.org
A tip for parents of young children who communicate without words
Sing songs with your child and build in opportunities for him to take turns
Sing simple songs with your child, especially ones with actions, like “Row Row Row your Boat”, and build in opportunities for him to participate. This is a fun way for him to learn to take his turn in an interaction, as well as to learn new words.For example, when singing “Row Row Row your Boat”, sing the song through once or twice and then, still holding his hands, WAIT for him to ask you to sing it again (he will probably make a sound or rock back and forth to ask you to do it again).
A tip for parents of young children who have just started talking
Use many different kinds of words when talking with your child
Make a point of highlighting a variety of word types when talking to your child, not just the names of things. It is important for your child to learn a variety of word types in order to talk in short sentences. Therefore, emphasize action words (sleep, eat, run, push, squeeze, break), descriptive words (soft, hot, big, sticky, funny, tired), location words (up, down, in, on, under), words about belonging (my, your, his, Mommy’s), and feeling words (sad, sick, happy, angry), as well nouns or names of things (dog, book, bed, cup). Repeat these words often and make them stand out when you use them by exaggerating your intonation and slowing down a bit. For example, “Mommy is very... TIRED (yawn). I must go to bed because I need to have a good sleep. Then I won’t be so tired.”
A tip for parents of young children who talk in sentences
Expand your child’s vocabulary by introducing a new word to a daily routine.
New words are learned during everyday activities. For example, if you want to help your child learn the word “lukewarm”, you can say, “The bath water is lukewarm – it’s not too hot, just a little warm.” Repeat the word every time you perform that routine. Then plan how to use the word in other situations. For example, you could use lukewarm in relation to tea or coffee or even soup! Help your child understand more about the word when you use it. For example, “I like my tea to be very hot. Lukewarm tea isn’t hot enough and it doesn’t taste good.”