You can help build children's communication skills at home by suggesting parents do the following:
- Set aside some time to talk with your child every day. Some parents find children are able to communicate when they are alone with them in the car.
- Tell your child stories about when he was a baby, his first words, the foods he liked best, and fun things he did when he was little.
- Tell your child stories about your own childhood-perhaps showing pictures of you when you were the same age as your child, and talking about the stories you loved, games you played, and the things you liked, were afraid of, or wondered about.
- Practice "stop, look, and listen." Take a moment to stop, look at your child, and really listen to what she is saying.
- Learn to read your child's emotions and then react to them. If your child has a big smile on his face when leaving school, you might say, "You have a happy smile on your face. Why?" Or, "You are frowning. What was sad about your day?"
- Give your child verbal labels for her emotions: "You must be angry, angry, angry." "Your happiness shows on your face." "You are frustrated. Let me help. I'll hold this and you pull there."
- Let your child know that what he says is important by expanding on his comments. If a child says, "That dog barked and barked," parents might respond, "Yes, the dog barked, but it didn't bite."
- Play language games with your child. You can play I Spy, or other word games, to increase her vocabulary.
- Read to your child every day.