The single best thing is to have your child spoken to by adults that are around him or her. Any time, all the time, everywhere!
Language therapy for young children often involves teaching parents how to increase the amount and kind of talking they do with their children. This is based on a mountain of research evidence that shows that children who are talked to more (by live people, not TVs, smartphones, or tablets) end up talking sooner, develop their speech and language faster, learn to read sooner, and have better academic performance than kids who are talked to less or those who are passively receiving language from a screen. These are facts.
So what is meant by “talking” to little ones? I often used to hear a Psychologist friend of mine advise parents to simply “natter, natter, natter” with them ALL the time. And any Speech-Language Pathologist would wholeheartedly agree. In the grocery store, talk about the fruits and vegetables you see. Stop, touch, smell them and talk to your baby about your experiences. While reading to your baby (yes, your baby! Even a newborn!), talk about the pictures and the actions taking place, animate your voice when you read dialogue and try to use lots of gestures and facial expressions. Everyday experiences are the best for enriching children’s language. This is one of the reasons why daily routines are especially important: because the actions are automatic for you and your child, they give you an opportunity to focus on communication involved in the interaction.
For children with a true speech/language delay (one that has been identified by a Speech-Language Pathologist), there are additional specific ways to interact with a child that are dependent on the specific delays. If you have concerns about your child’s language development, make a referral today. Don’t wait on long wait lists and certainly don’t take the “wait and see” approach.