Using Single Words Advice
Children often need help to learn and say their first words.
- Position yourself at your child’s eye level in order to gain and keep their attention.
- Focus on developing language skills when your child is not tired or hungry.
- Try to remove other distractions, such as the TV and other toys, when trying to teach your child a new word.
- Talk about what is in front of your child and not what you are planning to do later.
- Using simple signs/gestures alongside talking can help your child learn a word.
- Use single words and repeat the word several times.
- Leave pauses after you have said each word to give your child time to copy it.
- Choose items that your child already shows interest in to teach them its name.
- Give simple choices during the day and emphasise the key word in the sentence. ‘Do you want a banana or an apple?’.
- Try not to guess your child’s needs before they are aware that they need something.
- Simple nursery rhymes and songs can help children learn single words or noises.
- Give your child time to finish simple repeated phrases, before completing them yourself e.g. ‘ready steady ….........…go’.
- Use simple picture books and name the items in the book.
- Put some key items in a bag and pull them out one at a time for your child to listen to the name of the item and then play with it briefly.
- When completing everyday routines use simple words such as ‘up,up,up’ as you walk up the stairs and body parts as you get the child dressed or washed.
- Demonstrate simple symbolic noises such as ‘brumm, brumm’ for a car and ‘weeeee’ as they go down the slide.
- Toys to use to help communication:
- Bubbles – ready steady go
- Insert puzzles
- Toy animals
N.B. This advice is only to be used alongside therapy and with support and guidance from a Speech and Language Therapist.