How can I help my child communicate better in child care?

This depends on many things, including the developmental age of the child. It Is often helpful to know what skills the child is able to do and be aware of what should come next, developmentally.  For example, just like children must learn to walk before they can run, they must also learn early communication skills before they can use more advanced skills.  If the child is behind, a speech language pathologist can assist in developing specific goals for the child and recommendations for how to use these skills in child care.   

Provider can create a “language-rich “environment by doing activities such as:  

  • Reading to infants and toddlers is much more than reading words on a page.  The reader can imitate animal sounds, simple words, and even motions to encourage the child to use sounds/words.
  • Playing with toys that do not have batteries that can be used for multiple purposes.  For example, pushing a toy bus saying “beep-beep” or knocking over blocks with it and saying “boom.”
  • Pairing action and sounds.  For example, speech can be used when walking upstairs by saying “up-up-up” with each step. 

Sign language can be a great bridge for children who are not yet talking or if their speech is difficult to understand.  If your child knows or is learning signs, share them with your child’s provider.  Beginning with words that are in the environment which have a purpose is a great place to start.  Be sure to encourage your provider to continue to speak the word while doing the sign so the connection between the two can be easily made.