Helping Your Child Overcome Speech Delays: Tips for Parents
Speech delays can be frustrating for parents and children. Children who can’t express their needs, thoughts and emotions are more likely to be aggressive, easily agitated or noncompliant. They also find it hard to make friends and have difficulties in learning in school. These are huge risks for emotional problems and can lead to poor self-esteem.
How can parents help?
Use 1-2 words during everyday routines and activities, don’t talk too much
It is easier for children to learn when they have been exposed to familiar, repetitive vocabulary on a daily basis. For example, when washing your child’s hands, you can say “It’s time to wash your hands” but do not say “Look, your hands are dirty. What do you need to do? You need to wash your hands. I will help you. You need to open the tap, rub your hands….” Parents easily get into the habit of talking too much when the children have not yet started speaking. This does not help and only makes the child feel confused or frustrated.
Ask fewer questions and always offer them a choice
It is it difficult for children with speech delays to answer most of our questions, such as “What happened?” “What do you want?” “Why are you crying?”. Instead of asking for information, your child might learn faster when you give them a choice. Asking “Do you want to eat noodles or rice?” is better than asking “What you want to eat?”.
Your child needs time to think
We need to talk to our child, so they can acquire speech and language skills from us. But it Is very common to see parents talking too much or too fast to their children. For kids’ with speech delays the more the parents talk, the more the child can’t learn. They are overwhelmed with all the instructions, comments and questions they hear. They can’t catch up with you. So it is good to use simple sentences, and always stop and give your child a chance to think and respond to you.
Parents are an important part of helping kids who have a speech or language problem. At the age of 3 years old, most children able to speak in 2-3 words sentences. If you have any concern about your child’s speech or language development, look for help immediately. Recognize and treating speech delays early on is the best approach.