3 Ways to Develop the Critical Skills Your Child Must Have Before They’ll Talk

If you have a child who’s not yet talking, those first words are probably something you’re excited about hearing. Keep reading to find out one thing your child needs to be able to do before you’ll hear those precious first words and ways you can help them to learn how to do them.

The critical skill they need is joint attention. Joint attention is when you and your child share focus on something together. It might be a toy, a person or something interesting in your surroundings. It’s important that your child is able to gain and direct your attention to something. They’ll often do this by pointing and looking at the thing of interest. It’s also important for them to be able to respond to you and shift their attention when you want to share something with them. Joint attention is super important as it’s one of the ways we ‘tune in’ to other people and learn from them and our surroundings. It’s a critical skill your child needs to learn to talk. Without it your child’s talking will be delayed. 

So, how do you help your child develop joint attention? Here are 3 things to try:

1. Get down to your child’s level

When you’re standing up, you seem a really long way away from your child and this makes it harder for them to focus on you and what you're looking at. Getting down to their level helps them to pay attention to your face and the thing you’re showing them. It also makes it easier for them to get your attention and direct it to what they’re interested in.

2. Be animated 

When you’re trying to get your child’s attention or you’re sharing focus together, use lots of facial expressions and an excited tone of voice.This will not only help to capture your child’s attention but it’ll help them stay focused for longer too.

3. Follow their interests

Pay attention to what your child is interested in and join them by looking at it too and making comments about it. There’s no need to try to get them to focus on a new toy if they’re interested and enjoying focusing on another. When you do this your child will be far more likely to return the favour and share in your interests.

If you’re worried about your child’s talking, a paediatric Speech Pathologist is the health professional who can help. Contact your local Speech Pathologist or send us an email at info@talplaygrow.com.au

 

Did you find the article useful? Your friends may too so click the share button!


Toy Central: Jenga

No doubt you’ve heard the message “play with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what games are good to play and how to play them.  Did you know it’s these two things – the what and how - that makes the difference to your child’s development?

So why take the time to play with your child? Well, research shows us that play allows children to use their creativity as they develop their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and social, and emotional skills.  Phew! That’s a lot of areas play can influence. Play is also so important for healthy brain development. Most of all play is fun and a simple joy that children love and by playing with your child,  you are giving them time when they feel special.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how for playing with your child by telling you about a game we like to use in the clinic and sharing our top three tips on how to play the game to encourage your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.

 

Name of game

Jenga

What’s it about?

Jenga is a classic construction and strategy game for all ages. Using concentration and fine motor skills, children stack the wooden blocks in a sturdy tower, then take turns pulling out blocks one by one until the whole stack crashes down. The last person to pull out a block without the tower crashing is the winner! This game is wonderful for children to love to build and also love watching the tower fall.

Our top 3 tips
1. Target Speech Sounds

This game can be used to target a whole range of speech sounds. Try writing out and sticking words containing a sound onto the blocks and encourage your child to say the word with the correct sound. This will enable lots of repetitions of sounds in a fun and engaging game.

2. Explore language concepts as you play

There are lots of language concepts you and your child can target throughout this game. Point out different prepositions and get them to repeat them back to you. If you're not sure where to start use top, bottom, middle, left, right, next to, up, and down are just a few! You can also add colours, shapes, objects or instructions to the blocks or you can work on following instructions and further developing their range of vocabulary.

3. Use questions to create fun and engaging conversation

Lastly, Jenga can be used as a fun way to have conversations with children and work on turn-taking. Each time a person has a turn they can ask or answer a question about themselves and keep the conversation going until the tower crashes down! Remember children love it when we keep playing fun, so get creative with some silly questions or jokes to keep them engaged!

 

If you found this article helpful click the share button.  One of your friends may just find it useful too!

 

 


3 Mistakes to Avoid if Your Child is Stuttering

Is your child repeating sounds, words or phrases?  Are they stretching out words or getting stuck before talking? 

Around 12% of children begin to stutter by 4 years of age.  Children who begin to stutter in their preschool years need therapy immediately to prevent its negative impacts and reduce the likelihood of them stuttering for life

If left without treatment your child’s stuttering can get worse or be with them for life.  The impact of stuttering on a child’s life is varied however it’s absolutely certain that it will interfere with their ability to communicate.  This can lead to your child feeling embarrassed to speak in front of others, they can become frustrated with it and they may develop social anxiety which significantly affects their interact and build relationships with people.  This social anxiety can begin to emerge by just seven years of age.

With the right treatment stuttering can be eliminated.  Your child can become an excellent communicator who can confidently answer questions in class, stand up and give a speech and build strong relationships with those around them. There are also mistakes you can make that may lead to your child’s stuttering getting worse. It’s so important to avoid making these mistakes if your child is stuttering.

So, if you want to get your child’s speech stutter-free here are 3 mistakes to avoid:

       1. Finishing their sentences

Maybe it’s hard to watch your child struggle to talk or maybe you’re in a hurry. Either way, it can be very tempting when your child is struggling to get their words out to try to help them by finishing their sentence for them. Whilst your intentions are good, doing this can lead to frustration and a drop in their confidence.

       2. Telling them to slow down and take a breath

This is a really common mistake we see parents make. Again, we know you mean well by it however it doesn’t help your child talk smoothly at all. Rather than telling them this just give them the time they need to say their sentence and wait patiently until they’ve finished.

         3. Not seeking professional help immediately

There used to be a recommendation that you could wait 6-12 months before seeking help from a Speech Pathologist for your child’s stutter. This has changed. It is now recommended that you get help as soon as your child begins to stutter. Waiting can put your child at risk of becoming frustrated, losing confidence or having a stutter for life.

So, if your child is stuttering it’s time to avoid these mistakes and get professional help.  Our Speech Pathologists see children who stutter every day.  We can implement treatment to eliminate stuttering and build your child’s confidence in their communication.  Simply send us an email or call us on (02) 9653 9955.

 

 

 

 

 


3 Ways to Develop the Critical Skills Your Child Must Have Before They’ll Talk

If you have a child who’s not yet talking, those first words are probably something you’re excited about hearing. Keep reading to find out one thing your child needs to be able to do before you’ll hear those precious first words and ways you can help them to learn how to do them.

 

The critical skill they need is joint attention. Joint attention is when you and your child share focus on something together. It might be a toy, a person, or something interesting in your surroundings. It’s important that your child is able to gain and direct your attention to something. They’ll often do this by pointing and looking at the thing of interest. It’s also important for them to be able to respond to you and shift their attention when you want to share something with them. Joint attention is super important as it’s one of the ways we ‘tune in’ to other people and learn from them and our surroundings. It’s a critical skill your child needs to learn to talk. Without it, your child’s talking will be delayed. 

 

So, how do you help your child develop joint attention? Here are 3 things to try:

1. Get down to your child’s level

When you’re standing up, you seem a really long way away from your child and this makes it harder for them to focus on you and what you're looking at. Getting down to their level helps them to pay attention to your face and the thing you’re showing them. It also makes it easier for them to get your attention and direct it to what they’re interested in.

2. Be animated 

When you’re trying to get your child’s attention or you’re sharing focus together, use lots of facial expressions and an excited tone of voice. This will not only help to capture your child’s attention but it’ll help them stay focused for longer too.

3. Follow their interests

Pay attention to what your child is interested in and join them by looking at it too and making comments about it. There’s no need to try to get them to focus on a new toy if they’re interested and enjoying focusing on another. When you do this your child will be far more likely to return the favour and share in your interests.

If you’re worried about your child’s talking, a paediatric Speech Pathologist is the health professional who can help. Contact your local Speech Pathologist or send us an email. 

 

Did you find the article useful? Your friends may too so click the share button!

 


Clear speech: 3 tips to help your child say the 'f' sound

Do you have a child who can’t say the ‘f’ sound?

Perhaps they say ‘pish’ for ‘fish’ or ‘cottee’ for ‘coffee’. These mistakes can definitely sound cute when they’re young however once your child gets to a certain age they need to be able to say these words correctly. If you let your child say words the wrong way for too long it can make the mistakes harder to fix. And if you leave it until they start school, your child is very likely to have trouble learning to read and spell. And we know you don’t want that for them so keep reading for 3 tips on helping your child say the ‘f’ sound correctly. 

So when is the right time to try to fix the ‘f’ sound?

The answer is once your child is older than 3 years of age. If your child isn’t 3 years old yet don’t try to fix it. They won’t be ready and it’ll just end in frustration for both you and them. But if your child is older than 3 then now is the time to work on getting it right. There are many ways to teach children to say sounds correctly and here are 3 of our top tips for the ‘f’ sound:

Show them how to say it

The first tip in teaching your child to say the ‘f’ sound is to get down on their level and show them how to say the sound. Say just the sound itself and be right in front of them. Don’t try it in words like ‘fish’. That’ll be too tricky for them, they won’t succeed and they’ll either get frustrated or not want to try again. Ask them to copy you and see how they go.

Explain to them how to say it

Some simple instructions on how to say the ‘f’ sound can be really helpful for your child. Now, different instructions work for different children so be prepared to try a few ways. You could tell them to “bite your lip and blow” or “make a rabbit face and blow”. If one work, stick with it! 

Use a mirror for visual feedback

Your child will really benefit from seeing what they’re doing with their mouth so use a mirror. If you’ve got a mirror on your wardrobe just sit on the floor in front of it or head to the bathroom and use the mirror there. Just make sure they can see themselves. You may need a small step. You make the sound and see if they can copy your mouth movements to make the sound too. Give them the instructions on how to make the sound at the same time. 

Please be aware the above does not replace professional advice. If you’re worried about your child’s speech please contact a Speech Pathologist. Click here to send our Speech Pathologists a message today.