Parents always look forward to their child’s first words, but speech development varies for each child, who has to grow and learn to communicate at her own pace and time. By Lijeng Ranooe
However, if your maternal instincts are signalling that your little one is a bit further behind in talking, here are some tips on how to encourage her speech development.
Normal speech development
Children should be able to say at least one word by the age of one, with this number steadily increasing to three-word sentences before turning three. A typical 18-month-old can say 50 to 100 words, but understand far more. Gestures and following directions show that your child is understanding and communicating, and there’s likely little reason to worry.
4 ways to encourage your child’s speech development:
Create a communication-rich environment
Talking to, and around your child helps to increase her vocabulary and improve her grammar. Even talking about subjects that your child won’t necessarily understand will help. What is important is that she witness some form of communication.
Use child-directed speech
Child-directed speech, also known as baby talk, is a way of speaking that involves slowed-down speech with variations in pitch and exaggerated facial expressions. Change your vocabulary to encourage and praise your toddler for her efforts.
Sing, rhyme, mimic – just play
Make communication effortless and fun. Sing a lot while doing different activities with your toddler.
If you feel your child needs some extra help and you have concerns about her speech or language abilities, seek professional help. Just remember, every child will develop at their own pace.
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