As a parent it can be hard to know what is "normal" speech + language development. Language develops at different rates for different children. Here is some tips that I use as a Speech Therapist on the many ways parents can enhance their child's communication development. 
Get down, Get down!

I literally can not say it enough! Your child is a little one! Come down to their level in every way. Come down to their eye level AND to their developmental level.  Coming down to to their eye level, you can be sure to make good eye contact with them by being face to face, and to them, that is a more welcoming manner rather than demeaning. Then he/she can see your face and read your reactions to their actions and stories. This helps your child to connect with you and in turn, build their communication skills. Developmentally, it helps them understand words they know and by adding one new word to a sentence, you’re not overloading them.

Pay attention to them! 
It is harder for children to tune out from background noise and concentrate on what you are saying if you’re on the phone, watching the tv, and talking to each other. We’re not saying don’t watch any TV; just try to limit it especially when talking with your child 

Follow their lead 
Follow your child’s lead. If they are interested in something, talk about it and describe it. If they interested in something play with it, but don’t overdue it so they’re no longer interested in it.  One doesn’t learn language by being bombarded with it, so 1 – SHUT UP! 2, play normally!  Comment occasionally!

Choices, Choices 
Offer your child options to choose from. This can motivate them to talk with you and learn to use new or existing vocabulary. 

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat... 
Repetition is key! Children have to hear words many times before they learn their meaning. Don’t be afraid to repeat what you say while your playing with your child! If they make a mistake, try very hard not to correct them, instead model for them what you want to hear.  If you’re correcting them, this not only creates a negative memory and relationship between you and the child but if you simply model the correct behavior, they won’t even notice, but they will try again to do it well. 

Try to never ask questions.  A child with a limited vocabulary most likely will not only know how to answer high level questions but they may not have the language to answer the question asked and may have pragmatic difficulties as well.  Along with play, the best way to learn and teach language is through modeling.

Posted: Tuesday 7 March 2017