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How to strengthen your child’s ability to communicate effectively

A recent YouGov poll of over 1,000 parents reported that one in six children struggled when learning to talk. According to ICAN, the children’s communication charity; “In some parts of the UK, upwards of 50% of children are starting school with poor language skills.” ICAN believes that there are many things that you can do as a parent to help you child’s speech and language develop.

Mum and baby listening to music

1Sing, sing, sing!

Babies and young children adore the melody of action songs and nursery rhymes. If you feel daft singing along by yourself, buy a CD of popular nursery rhymes and sing along.

2Face to face contact

Reward your child in conversation with lots of eye contact. This way he can watch how you form sounds and you get the added benefit of feeling closer to your child. Babies and children relish individual attention.

3Give your child thinking time

If you are a chatterbox, you may not be giving your child a chance to fully participate in conversation. If asking a question such as “where is your teddy?” give your child time to think about their response.

4Always respond when your child tries to communicate

Respond to your child when he makes an effort to communicate. You can also do this with a small baby when they coo or babble.

5Talk about what you are doing

The daily routine of looking after a young child offers plenty of opportunity to engage in conversation. For example when getting your child dressed, you could say, “Let’s put your pink trousers on now, then your white socks, oh look there is a bird outside the window.” You get the picture. Most parents do this naturally but it is easy to get out of the habit. By commenting on a child’s world rather than constantly asking them questions and expecting them to respond, the child feels less pressure and “you are giving your child language as they experience it.” (ICAN tips)

Up next: 5 More ways to encourage your child to talk >>

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