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Tips for Talking

Many children start school now with reduced language skills and find it difficult to produce some sounds or words. A good vocabulary and clear pronunciation helps children in their learning. Below are some good ways to encourage your child to talk. Hopefully this will help them get off to the best start possible in school.

Talking Tips 


1.   Speak to your child slowly and leave pauses. 

When you talk to your child, try to speak in an unhurried manner and wait a few seconds after your child has finished talking before you reply. You can be a great speaking model for your child by talking in a slow, relaxed manner. This is much more beneficial than saying “slow down”, which can be difficult for your child to do. 


2.   Reduce the number of questions you ask. 

Children speak more freely when they are discussing their own ideas. Asking too many questions can put pressure on their speech, whereas if you listen to what your child is saying and comment positively, it builds a positive, relaxed talking environment.


3.   Use the same type of speech your child does - short and concise. 

Sometimes when you have older children in the family it can be difficult to match your language to your younger child’s level. However it is important to try to use language appropriate for their age for them to imitate and learn from.


4.  Show you’re listening through facial expressions and body language. 

This shows that you are an interested listener and not worried or concerned [especially if your child appears to be struggling to pronounce or produce words] while also shifting the focus from how “perfect” their speech is to how interesting the topic is. 


5.   Have 5-10 minutes a day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. 

Finding time in the day to talk and play with your child without distractions can be difficult. But setting aside 5-10 minutes a day whether it is just before bedtime or during the day can be very beneficial for both you and your child. By letting your child have your undivided attention while doing activities they choose, you are building their confidence and showing that you enjoy their company. 

You can also support their language skills by using new words when reading bedtime stories or giving their toys voices during imaginative play, which your child could then use in the future to express themselves more clearly.


6.   Practise good turn-taking with your whole family. 

Children, often find it easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions and they know everyone is listening. Talk about the importance of taking turns and listening to each other with your family. Practising taking turns with young children can be done successfully by using an object that when held means “It’s my turn to talk” and everyone else must listen! Perfect times to practise this are during a family game or at the dinner table.


We hope you have found these tips from the NHS website useful. 


For more information visit the I Can website: