In this parenting tips video learn how to develop your child's speech by reinforcing the words with actions.
How to Stimulate Speech Development Host V/O: Settling back with ten-month old Hannah and a good book, this is one of Cindy Beine’s favorite pastimes. Cindy Beine: Something I’ve done with all of my children from the very early beginning, when they were just little infants, was read books to them – just little picture books. Host V/O: Hannah is learning to connect the pictures with words, a great help as she struggles to develop speech skills. Pediatricians say reading to your kids is a great idea, but so is just talking to them. Peter Contini: Talking to your baby is so important, because babies get their greatest comfort from the human voice. Host V/O: Simply talking about whatever you’re doing is a good way to keep up the parent-child dialogue. Cindy makes regular visits to Doctor Contini’s office with Hannah, and her three-year old son Jake. Hannah is off to a good start. The babbling she does now will turn into words later. Meanwhile, Hannah’s just trying to hold up her end of the conversation. Peter Contini: The smiling and the gurgling and the babbling is the very first conversation that they’re having. Host V/O: Cindy likes to share baby talk and smiles with her daughter. Pediatricians say even a smile is a form of communication. Peter Contini: What a smile says is “please do that again,” or, “I like what you did.” Host V/O: And don’t worry about baby talk holding back your child. It’s fine – in the beginning. Peter Contini: After about six or nine months or so, baby talk serves a little bit less of a purpose and talking to a child in typical conversation voice and those sort of terms is usually the best way to communicate to your child. Host V/O: Jake is way ahead of the baby-talk stage, but he’s still learning, too. Cindy Beine: Then there are some words that are just too hard. You know “spaghetti,” they always say “basketti.” And that’s just a hard word until they’re much older. Host V/O: Right around age two you should be able to understand about 50 percent of what your child says. She should also be putting together two word sentences at this point. A couple of more milestones: at age three, you should be able to understand about 75 percent of what your child says and she’ll use three word sentences. And by age four, nearly 100 percent with more complex sentences being used. As in all forms of development, there’s a broad range of “normal” for speech. Peter Contini: I say that typically a child, after the age of around 18 months, if they’re not saying too many words, that’s when you may want to investigate it a little more closely. The biggest leap in verbal development that occurs is right around two years of age. And that is when you realize that your child understands just about everything that you say. Cindy Beine: That’s wonderful, and I think it’s very rewarding as a parent when that finally happens because you think, okay, I’ve done something right, now, you know, they’re developing as they should be. There’s no greater reward.