Baby talk and unclear speech can be cute for a while, but when others can no longer understand your child, it's time to step in and help!
Let's not deny it, sometimes baby talk can be adorable! But there's a fine line between cute baby talk and unclear speech. If your child is a turning 4 years old, and people around him are struggling to understand what he/she is saying, then it's time to step in because the 'cute' phase is officially over.
We generally recommend that you see a speech and language therapist who can assess your child and identify any sounds he might need help saying (pronouncing) and whether or not your child will require speech therapy sessions. However there is so much you can do at home to help as well! So here are a few tips on how to get started with supporting your child's speech and at home.
Tip #1 - Reading Books
If there's one tip that I would recommend the most, this would be it. Reading short, interactive and repetitive stories give your child a fun way to hear and repeat short phrases that are age appropriate. Reading stories and waiting for you child to step and complete a sentence can also give him a safe and fun way to practice saying sounds and words.
Check out the video below on how to read an interactive story with your child.
Tip #2 - Rhymes
We all love nursery rhymes and hearing our little ones singing them; but did you know that nursery rhymes, more specifically rhyming words, help your child's brain segment words, find words that sound the same and learn word patterns!
Listening and saying rhymes help develop your child's phonemic awareness, by identifying word parts that sound the same; this helps in creating a foundation for their literacy skills as well as their speech sound development.
So the next time you're listening or singing a rhyme, take it a step further and play a rhyme game! Find words that sounds the same. If your child is struggling with identifying words that rhyme, why not use visual cues! Below is a printable Rhyme Word Activity.
Tip #3 - Let's Clap - Syllable Counting!
A syllable is a part of a word that contains a single vowel sound and that is pronounced as a unit. So, for example, ' book' has one syllable, and ' reading' has two syllables.
A strong understanding of syllables helps children learn to read and decode faster and more fluently. Understanding syllables will help your child's pronunciation of words and will help him understand where to segment words and emphasise each syllable segment.
Syllable counting can be tricky at the start but once you keep practicing both you and your child will get the hang of it. Below is a printable activity that will make syllable counting fun and interactive.
Children learn best through play, so make sure you're having fun!