Hints and Tips

Attention and Listening
  • Reduce distractions by limiting TV and screen time and turning off the TV if nobody is watching it.

  • Visual cues such as a sand timer can help your child to see how long they need to spend on a particular activity before moving on to the next one.

  • Play lots of listening games e.g. when you are out and about, stop and see if your child can tell you what they can hear (bird song, cars etc). This will help them to practise their listening skills so they have more opportunities to hear language.

  • Encourage imaginative play by introducing toys such as tea sets or small world play sets. Model play e.g. making a cup of tea and giving it to teddy and see if your child can copy you.

  • Use very simple language to talk about what is going on and leave lots of gaps to give your child an opportunity to say something if they want to.

  • Playing with your child also encourages social skills such as turn taking and eye contact.

Understanding Language

  • Use very simple language e.g. "shoes on" rather than "get your shoes on now please".

  • Give your child time to process what you have said (try counting up to ten seconds in your head before expecting a response).

  • Help children to learn the words for objects by telling them what the object is rather than asking them "what's that?" This will help them match the word to the object.

Using  Language

  • Name objects that your child is looking at and comment on what they are doing. This will allow them to map the language they hear onto the object that they can see.

  • Repeat what your child says and add on a word  e.g. if your child says "juice" you can say "more juice"

  • Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to communicate e.g. putting toys a little bit out of reach so that they have to try and ask you for them.

Speech Sounds
  • Try not to ask your child to repeat words correctly. If your child says a word unclearly, simply repeat it back to them to model the correct pronunciation.

  • Play listening games with different sounds e.g. see if they can find lots of objects beginning with specific sounds.

  • If you have really not understood your child, try asking them to show you another way e.g. take you to where something happened or draw you a picture.

  • If your child is stammering, allow them lots of time to finish what they are trying to say.

  • If they are really stuck on a word you could ask something like "would you like me to help you?" and then offer help if requested. Try not to guess what your child is trying to say.

  • Don't be afraid to talk about the stammer. Offer reassurance, for example, "don't worry, everyone gets stuck on their words sometimes".

  • It is helpful for adults to slow down their rate of talking and to leave pauses before responding. This is particularly important if your child stammers more when they are excited of upset.

  • Try not to ask your child to 'slow down' or 'take a breath'. This may make them feel frustrated.