Facilitating Speech and Language in Infants & Toddlers

Posted on September 20, 2016 · Posted in Parent Tips

Infants, toddlers, and young children learn language from the people they spend the most time with. This can be grandparents, siblings, caregivers, and especially their parents. So here are a few tips and tricks to facilitate language in your child.

Self Talk: This is when you are using short sentences to talk about what you are seeing, hearing, or doing when you are with your child. For example when you are making cookies you can say, “Mommy is making cookies! I am stirring the batter. I am going to put them in the oven”.

Parallel Talk: Parallel talk is similar to self talk, except rather than talking about what you are seeing, hearing, or doing you are talking about what your child is seeing, hearing or doing. For example when your child is playing with farm animals you can say, “You have the cow! You put cow in the barn. The cow is sleeping.” Notice you are not asking questions but rather are just modeling language.

Descriptions: These are when you simply describe an object that your child is playing with or looking at. You may label and describe different objects to a child. For example, “There is an apple! It is red and round and grows on trees.”

Expansions: Expansions are when you take the words your child says about what they see and do and repeat them while adding in missing words/grammar. By doing this you are repeating and expanding your child’s language without directly “correcting” him/her. For example, if your child see’s a dog and says, “puppy”, you could say, “Yes, you see a puppy”. Or if your child says “Car go!” you could say, “Yes! The car is going”.

Extensions/Expansions Plus: These are similar to expansions, but one step up. In extensions/expansions plus, you not only are repeating and expanding your child’s language but you will also be adding new information. For example if your child says “Car go!” you could say “Yes the car is going. The car is going fast.” If your child says “brown doggy” you could say, “Yes you see a brown doggy! The brown doggy is big and fluffy.”