Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Encouraging Language in Toddlers: Part Six

Encouraging Language: Be Patient

My next tip is simple but sweet.  When you are trying to encourage language, whether it be their first word or whether you are trying to encourage them to put words together: Use wait time.  This means that after you ask your child a question and you want them to respond, give them LOTS of time to answer.  Wait there quietly for a good minute.  You will be able to tell if your child is thinking or formulating a reply.  Sometimes we think that lulls in a conversation are awkward or even incorrect - but they're not!  Especially with younger children.  Some children have slower processing speed and they just need MORE TIME.  Some children might have difficulty coordinating the movement required for speech (such as apraxia).  Some children take time to process what the actual question was.  For these reasons and many more - remember it's okay to wait.

Show them that it's okay for them to think about their answer and that they don't have to answer immediately.  Take off the pressure.  Smile.  Get down on their level.  And wait.  I'm not making any promises, but give it a try!  You might be surprised!

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