If your child doesn’t say a word, this article is for you. The mute: strategies to help your child speak.
Although there are many children who look like parakeets or macaws from an early age (say, two years), many others do not say a word until much later, and are not able to complete sentences when they are more than three years old. Most of these cases are not cause for concern, as these children just need a little extra help. However, there are others who do need professional advice, since they have physical or emotional problems that are preventing them from developing the ability to speak; I have been told by a speech therapist that, as a general rule, if they refuse to repeat words by the age of three, they should seek the help of a professional.
The information in this article is for the group of children who just need a little more help, but even so, if you notice that these suggestions are not working, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician. For these ideas to work you need to be constant and repeat them daily, since, like anything else the brain learns, to know new words and sentences it needs an environment of repetition, of a lot of repetition. Follow these tips and you will soon see the difference in your child who still does not speak, or even in the one who needs help to increase her vocabulary.
1. Read to him every day
One of the best ways to help your child speak and increase his vocabulary is to read to him every day for at least fifteen minutes. Doing so helps you hear words multiple times, distinguish the intonation and function of words in a sentence. If you don’t have time for anything else, you can’t stop doing this activity.
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2. Talk about your surroundings
Don’t stop talking: talk about what you see, talk about food, talk when you’re changing, talk about whatever, but do it often. Remember that repetition is essential for him to learn sounds and other things related to speech.
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3. Wait, and teach
You do not have to speak all the time, it is a good idea that when you have already repeated a word several times wait for your child to say it. You can point to the object and ask, “What is it called?” If the child does not respond, say the word and ask him to repeat it, and do this exercise several times. Another way to do it is when reading a book: you can open a space of silence for him to complete the word that you have left unfinished.
4. Limit TV time
Recent research has shown a relationship between the time a child spends in front of the screen and their vocabulary: the more time, the less vocabulary. So limit the amount of time your child watches TV to help them communicate.
Learning goes beyond school
Your child does not have to communicate only through sounds or gestures, as they have the ability to say all those words and sentences in your language. Practice and do not lose faith, believe in your child and his ability to learn. As I mentioned before, if even after this you don’t see any progress, consult your pediatrician and a specialist in speech pathology.