Hearing your child speak their first words can be incredibly exciting. It’s can be an amazing journey to watch your child’s accomplishments, no matter what they are. So often we’re told that everyone, especially children, learns at different rates. But we so often face the expectations of those around us, instead of letting our children develop on their own.
Some kiddos say their first words before they are one year old, while others may not start chattering until they are two or three years of age. If you’ve read our story, then you’ll know that you aren’t alone: Mama of a late talker, I see you.
You are your child’s advocate, so worries if your little one is dealing with a speech delay. Here are some things to help your child cope with a speech delay, and encourage them to embrace their voice!
4 Things to Do at Home to Help a Child With Speech Delay
Strengthen Mouth Muscles
Speech is not just about knowing vocabulary, some kiddos have difficulty with speech because their mouth muscles need strengthening. One way to strengthen these muscles is to have your child use a straw more often. Obviously, straws are great for thin beverages, like chocolate milk and juice, but also consider thicker substances. Fruit smoothies, milkshakes, and even applesauce are great examples of other things that can be sipped through a straw.
Sign While Talking
Sign language is a great way to communicate when one or both parties are unable to speak. Signing helps to understand one another, but it is also important to vocally say the words while signing. This will help a child with speech delay be able to communicate more effectively so that when they are ready to start talking, they will know the words that they need to use. Sign language is more available now than it ever was before. You can watch videos with your child, right at home, so you both can learn all about signing.
Keep Talking with/to Your Child
Just because your child does not say much, does not mean they do not understand. Talk to your child frequently throughout the day. Tell them what you are doing, and why you are doing things a certain way. Tell them stories and be descriptive. This is great for their growing minds to see you in action. The more your child hears, the more your child will know when they do start speaking more.
Download a Speech App
There are a ton of speech apps out there, that allow your child to practice their speech, right at home. One of the best speech apps out there is called Speech Blubs. You can get a free trial, but after this it is $9.99 a month. The exercises are phenomenal and state of the art. It’s truly amazing what you can do right at home to help with your child’s speech delay.
Even if you aren’t a parent, you can participate in being a part of any child’s road to at-home speech therapy. You too can help a child with speech delay in your own way. Just make sure to clear it with the parents/guardians first so that they can help you to curate a plan!