Hearing your child speak their first words can be incredibly exciting. It’s can be an amazing journey to watch your child’s many accomplishments, even very early in life.
So often we’re told that children learn at different rates and that in itself can be a hard thing.
But when we also have to face the expectations of those around us, instead of letting our children develop on their own, it can be quite discouraging.
There are some things that some kids excel at where others struggle, and vice versa.
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.
I’ve been there. As the mama of late-talking children, it can be a struggle.
You are your child’s advocate, so if you’re concerned that your child may be struggling, go to bat for them!
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “How can I help my child with a speech delay?”
And honestly, it can be as simple as being a little more patient. Or maybe just a little encouragement. Or maybe it’s time to consult an expert.
But you’re not alone, here are some things to help your child with a speech delay, and encourage them to embrace their voice!
At Home Ideas to Help a Child With Speech Delay
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor should you have medical concerns.
Imaginative Play Time
Playing with your child is the best way to encourage them to use their voices to interact.
When you use imaginative play, there is no right or wrong. Which means there’s nothing to be embarrassed about when making mistakes.
Playing with figurines or dolls are great ways to encourage dialogue.
Playing with cars, trucks, and animals, help to strengthen the use of their voices.
Books are amazing little worlds that your children can relate to by using their imaginations, or comparing the stories to the world around them.
It’s also the perfect way to connect written words with spoken ones, a win-win if you ask me!
Strengthen Mouth/Facial Muscles
Speech is not just about knowing vocabulary, some kids have difficulty with speech because their mouth muscles need strengthening.
Here are a couple of easy ways you can help strengthen those oral muscles to help a child with speech delay.
1. 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.
2. Funny noises and faces
Try to teach your child to pop their tongue, or even rolling the tongue.
Get a mirror and get them to make funny faces; curling the tongue, making a sad face, puckering, duck face, fish-face, whistling.
3. Play games
Have you seen those simple, fun, party or gathering games where you have to complete tasks in a time frame?
- Try using a straw to suck up items and place them somewhere else.
- Put a spoon in your mouth and balance an egg while hobbling on one leg or running across the room.
- Put a cookie on your forehead and use your facial muscles to move it down to your mouth.
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 vocalizing the words while signing is an effective way to ensure that children make the connection between silent and spoken word.
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 accessible 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 doesn’t say much, does not mean they do not understand. This is a big misconception among those inexperienced with language disorders.
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. It’s 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 apps out there that can help your child with speech delay. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?
I’ve heard that one of the best speech apps out there is called Speech Blubs. Honestly, I don’t know much about it, besides the reviews I’ve read.
But we have compiled a whole list that is dedicated to apps that help with language disorders, speech delay in toddlers, and late talkers.
Pray for Your Child
The only thing more powerful than praying for your child is acting upon those prayers that you’ve prayed.
There are no magical prayers for speech delay. I know, total womp womp moment- right?
But there is a miracle-working God who hears those prayers.
And when you pray in sincerity, knowing that He hears, He answers, and He has a plan, you can find comfort in knowing that He hasn’t left you to face it alone.
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!
Were you blessed with a child that has a speech delay? What have you found helps inspire them?
Do you have a plan to help a child with a speech delay? What have you found helps you to cope?