My child isn’t talking, what can I do?

Here are some things to try if your child isn’t talking;

sjp_0952Parents often call us because they’re worried that their child hasn’t started talking yet. The first thing we say is that all children are unique, they develop at their own pace, and it’s not always a reason to worry if they’re not talking yet. There are lots of ways of communicating, and lots of ways to help your child with language development. Here are just a few to get you started.

  • Always be face to face. It’s important that your child can see the way your lips and face move, and make eye contact with you. They will also pick up a lot from your facial expressions and smiles, so be as animated as you can.
  • Keep your language simple. Try to avoid long complicated sentences, or words that mean nothing to a child. For example, use people’s names rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’.
  • Stress important words in a sentence. You might be telling them that Daddy got stuck behind a digger on the way home and that’s why he’s late, but just emphasise Daddy and digger and your child will be more likely to pick up on your message.
  • Use gestures / signs / pictures / pointing. All these additional communication methods support your child’s language development, they don’t replace it.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat! A child may need to hear a word dozens of times before they have really learnt it, so comment on everything you see using simple language.
  • Don’t ask your child to repeat what you say, or to say a word on demand. It doesn’t help the child’s language development, and instead can put pressure on them to perform.

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