1. Observe, wait, listen: Your child may be playing an interesting and imaginative game that you can join in with.
2. Get down to your child's level: This will give your child the chance to make eye contact with you and to watch your facial expressions.
3. Let your child take the lead: Your child will learn more from an activity that they are interested in.
4. Encourage your child to communicate in any way possible: If your child points to the item that they want when you offer them a choice, name the item and repeat the word several times for them to hear.
5.Encourage your child to join in with play: Play is very important in encouraging the development of your child's speech, language and communication skills.
6. Speak to your child using the language you are strongest in: This does not have to be English. It is beneficial for a child to learn more than one language, especially in the early years.
7. Reduce background noise: Turn off the television when playing and talking together. This will help your child to learn to listen.
8. Don't let your child speak with a dummy in their mouth: The dummy will get in the way of talking (see below for further information).
9. Enjoy songs and nursery rhymes together: Especially ones with lots of actions and repetition.
10. Slow down your rate of speech: This will give your child more time to think about what you have said.
11. Give your child at least ten seconds to respond to what you have said: 'Thinking time' is very important and will help your child to join in with conversation.
12. Repeat an instruction using the same words: If your child is struggling to follow an instruction, repeat the instruction using the same words. This will give your child more time to process what you have said.
13. Reduce the number of questions that you ask your child: Instead comment on what your child is doing (Questions test, comments teach).
14. Name items and pictures that your child is looking at:This will help them to learn the meaning of new words. Repeat new and unfamiliar words several times for your child to hear.
15. Offer your child choices: Hold up the choices that are available and name them. This will help your child to learn more words (e.g. "blackcurrent juice or orange juice?" and "Do you want the red car or the blue car?").
16. Talk about events and activities as they are happening:Everyday activites provide wonderful learning opportunities (e.g. naming food items as you unpack the shopping or describing what you are doing as you clean the room).
17. Show your child how to say it correctly: Children make mistakes. Show them how to do it rather than telling them that they have got it wrong (Child: "I runned to the park", Adult: "Good boy, you ran to the park").
18. Add one word to what your child has said: This will show your child how to put more words together (Child: "car", Adult: "red car" / Child: "doggy gone", Adult: "doggy gone home").
19. Emphasise the correct pronunciation: If your child makes a mistake, repeat the word and emphasise the correct pronunciation (Child: "tat teep", Adult: "the cat's asleep, good boy the cat is asleep"). Do not ask them to say it again. They will do this when they are ready.
TIPS FOR STORY TELLING
Let your child choose the story.
Read the story at your child's pace.
Involve your child as you read the story.
Say less: Miss out any words not needed.
Comment on what your child is interested in.
It's okay to read the same story over and over again. Your child will learn from the repetition.