Helping Children To Speak Clearly

  • Think about how you speak to your child. Speak slowly and clearly, and repeat phrases a number of times. This is especially important if your child is having difficulty making accurate sounds or words – keep your sentences and phrases short and simple.
  • Exaggerate the tune (intonation) in your voice, all the ups and downs in pitch that we use in normal speech. Exaggerate the important words and the stronger syllables in words.
  • When your child makes an error, firstly acknowledge what she is trying to say (her message) and then repeat it, modelling the word or phrase correctly. Occasionally you can ask her to have a go at saying it correctly, if this is achievable. However, you need to choose your times, and avoid constant ‘correction’.
  • When you know that your child canĀ say a word correctly, you can pick her up on it when she says it incorrectly. Don’t always tell her how to say it. Instead give her a choice: “Is it… or… ?”
  • From the time your baby is tiny, encourage a good memory for sound by singing and saying lots of nursery rhymes and action songs. Introduce new ones along the way and repeat the earlier ones. Repeat favourite stories.

Above all, enjoy communicating with your child and show her that you enjoy it. Always listen when she talks, and respond, so that she learns that speech is useful and powerful. Praise her attempts highly, and make talking and singing lots of fun.