the Parents of Young Children
1. Try to maintain a household schedule or follow a routine. Have regular meal hours, a definite time
for bed, play, study, and family sharing (a listening
time during which the members of the family discuss
their activities, ideas, etc.). Children function
better when they know what is expected of them at a particular time.
2. See that your child has regular
medical checkups. Keep your child in good health.
3. Remember, your child will progress
at his own rate of growth and development. He should
not be compared to other youngsters of his own age
or to his older siblings. Maturation is a very important factor
in speech development. A child will talk when his nerve centers
and speech organs are sufficiently developed.
4. Motivation is important.
Children develop speech because it is the means to fulfilling
an end. They see something and they want it—they realize
that they must communicate their wishes to others. Speech
becomes meaningful to them because it is useful. If
parents accept gestures and grunts too quickly in
place of verbalization of speech, children may not
try to talk. They may not think it is necessary—there
is no incentive. Don’t expect perfect speech,
but insist they use their “words” or the best
speech of which they are capable.
5. Good speech standards in the home are important to a child’s
speech development as food is to his growth. Children imitate their parents. Praise the child’s efforts to use good speech even though it may not be perfect. Do not
push him beyond his individual limits and capabilities.
6. Encourage him to play
with youngsters slightly older than himself, as well as with
those his own age.
7. DO NOT speak too rapidly—this
is very important. Remember, a child cannot comprehend ideas
presented too rapidly. It takes time for him to sort out the
ideas in statements and then more time to organize his responses
to your speech. If your speech is too rapid, he may
simply give up and decide that he can’t talk.
8. Provide your child with a variety of stimulating
experiences. Language becomes more meaningful and essential
as his experiences increase. Use simple language to describe
9. DO NOT force him to recite or speak his
piece if this seems to upset him. Give him time to gain
10. Avoid the use of “baby
talk”. It can retard the child’s
natural speech development.
11. Read to the child everyday.
Make this a part of your household schedule. Even when he
is too young to understand the whole story, it is important
that the child become aware of the listening act. Active rather
than passive listening can be taught.
12. Take time to listen to your child when he has something to say. Don’t rush him—ask
him about his daily activities and school affairs.
Ultimately you want to convey to your child that what he has to say is important and you enjoy listening to him. This is the best way to build
his confidence as a speaker.
Source: Helping the Child to Listen and Talk, by Joan M. Sayre