If you want to give your child some extra support, there’s a lot you
can do. By Carly Lines, speech and language therapist
Get face to face
Get down to your child’s level by sitting or lying down, or bring them up to your level. It’s easier to listen and talk to each other if you are face to face.
Use simple language
Use single words or short phrases to talk about what’s happening or things your child can see. For example: “Breakfast time!” or “Wow, you’re building a tower!”
Repeat what you say
Say the same words lots of times in play and routines. For example, repeat “wash” during bathtime, saying “wash your toes”, “wash your belly” etc. This will help your child learn new words.
Give them extra time
Help your child to talk more by giving them extra time. When
you play together, try waiting a bit longer than usual to see what
Comment, don’t question
Asking lots of questions can feel like a test. Make talking fun by commenting on what your child is doing. Use a sound, word or short sentence, like “choo choo”, “train” or “pushing the train”. This will help them learn new words and sentences.
Follow their lead
Watch how your child plays and copy them. They are more likely to stay and play if you follow their interests. Children love talking about what they are doing.
Copy what they say
Repeat back sounds, words and sentences. Whether it’s “lala” or “I want a banana”, it shows that you’re interested and that sounds and words are important.
Copy and add a word
Add one or two words to what your child says. For example, if your child says “bus”, you could say “big bus”. This will help your child move on to the next stage of talking.
We have a range of drop-in sessions where parents can get advice from speech and language therapists. Visit
bit.ly/SLT_advice to find out what’s on, or call our advice line which is open between 9am-12pm every Wednesday on 07825 016 335.
You can access more support from your local children’s centre – find out more at bristol.gov.uk