Updated: Jun 11, 2021
1. Realistic goals & expectations
Set only realistic goals and have expectations that can match a child’s situation. Don’t lose hope by expecting the child to respond immediately within a few days or weeks. The brain needs enough time (practically, a few months) to relate and encode the instructions provided because it is a physiological and psychological process.
Further, each child is unique and has their areas of strengths and weakness; so, there is no point in comparing the child’s progress with any other child even with the same condition. However, it is significant to monitor whether the child is making consistent progress than in the past and achieving the realistic goals set by the speech-language pathologist and parents.
2. Break excessive monotony
For effective speech and language stimulation and better communication, it is vital to make the learning process interesting and enjoyable. Your child must be subjected to different experiences and environment at the home.
3. Avoid overloading
Though it is important to break the monotony, don’t introduce all the home training activities at once, and overload your child without planning. At the same time, do not repeat only one activity throughout the day or most of the days.
Don’t stimulate with too many different sounds, words, phrases and concepts instead select a few of them for a particular activity, and repeat those selected ones during the activity for some days. By doing so, your child will be able to remember them conveniently.
5. Keep it simple
Use simple and basic language for instructions and explanations; for example, "This cup is empty. See!-There's no water. It’s empty”.
6. Eye contact
The parent should work at the child’s level by bending down or getting down on the floor. Don’t sit on a chair and instruct your child to perform an activity; parents must ensure their full involvement in an activity. Further, to achieve good eye contact, the parent must hold the toys and items close to their (i.e., parents) face while talking to the child.
7. Exhibit attractive gestures
Use voice modulations, facial expressions, and attractive gestures to teach and emphasize new words. This will make the new words stand out, and easier for your toddler to remember them.
8. Providing an opportunity
The parent must stimulate the child to initiate and lead a conversation. This can be achieved by playing in silence for a while, and then once the child attempts to say or express something, the parent may respond and build a conversation based on what the child has prompted. Make sure to use this technique now and then to encourage the child to lead the conversation.
Reward or reinforcement is a token of appreciation to encourage the child to perform an activity better. Provide a combination of verbal reward (i.e. appreciations such as ‘great’, or ‘good girl’), material rewards (i.e. gifts such as stickers, chocolates, drawing a star on hand, or playing music), and social rewards (i.e. gestures such as clapping, shaking hands, or patting on back). Be cautious, not to provide excessive material rewards to avoid developing dependency and unnecessary expectations.
10. Most important
Beyond any advanced techniques and therapies, some primary and vital activities to improve a child’s speech and language is hugging, kissing, cuddling, playing, singing and dancing with the child. Perform these activities often as these techniques are well received by children and are, naturally, coded in their genes.