Most of you use the following techniques while interacting with your babies and toddlers without realizing that what you’re doing is a certain technique. Some of these are indirect, meaning that there is no specific requesting of a response, and some of these are direct, which is a way of encouraging language and requesting that children imitate words or sounds.
It is important to do both indirect and direct techniques, although you don’t have to focus on all of them at the same time or use them all together. Use them one at a time or in various combinations makes for a well-rounded language stimulation experience.
Self-Talk: This method is just what it says. You say what you hear, what you see, and what you are doing. Your child should be nearby or watching when you are using this technique so that they can make the connections between what you are saying and what is happening. Talking in short sentences will have more of an effect as opposed to long run-on, nonstop talking.
Parallel Talk: Much like Self-Talk, you are the one doing all of the talking. Unlike Self Talk, you should be talking about what your child is doing, hearing, feeling, etc. This is a great method to use when playing with your child.
Description: This method is used in the above mentioned Self-Talk and Parallel Talk in which you use words and statements to describe, label, and explain objects.
Repetition: In order to use this method your child should be talking in single words and some phrases but still have words that they cannot pronounce correctly. With this method, you repeat what they say but pronounce your words correctly. When your child says, “boo baw,” for example, you should repeat, “blue ball”.
Expansion: This technique focuses on repeating your child’s phrase but in an adult form. For example, if you child says, “me eat” you should say something like, “Yes, you are eating”.
Expansion plus: This method uses the above Expansion method but adds an additional comment to it. Using the same example above, you could add, “Today’s dinner is so good!”
Questioning: Ask your child questions about what he or she is playing with, how something tastes, etc. This technique focuses on expanding their vocabulary. If your child doesn’t know what an object is, help them by explaining what it is.
Imitation Questioning: This method focuses on the imitation phase. An example would be if he or she wants more milk, and says, “more,” encourage them to say, “more milk.”
Reinforcing: One of the best ways to encourage children to communicate is to respond to their communication attempts. If your baby babbles, you should babble back. Same goes with a toddler. Be sure to model correct form and pronunciation!