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Expert advice to facilitate your child’s talking and overall development.

Posted by Russell Daley, Director of Queensland Speech Pathology Services on

All of us, parents and care givers, care about nothing more than our children, and their development means everything to us.
In the below lines, 
Director of Queensland Speech Pathology Services, Russell Daley provides valuable information about facilitating your child’s talking and language development.

Hearing your child’s first words is one the most memorable milestones for any parent. Some children talk at 12 months, some at 30 months, however most children begin talking between 18 – 24 months of age. At this point in time the exact reason why some children begin talking at 12 months of age, and others at 24 months of age is not known. However, what we do know is:

  • All children should be talking by 36 months of age.
  • Age appropriate speech and language skills are essential for literacy and learning development.
  • Children exposed to a language rich environment are less likely to have delays and difficulties with their development.

While a child’s first word may just appear one day, the journey taken by your child actually began when he / she was still in the womb. Babies begin hearing at 18 weeks gestation. In order for your child to say their first words, they must first be hearing words. Children learn to talk through hearing language. Therefore, a language rich environment is crucial to your child’s development. One of the best ways for infants and toddlers to hear language is through play. Certain toys can help encourage your child’s talking through play. When choosing toys to encourage talking in infants and toddlers, the following are things I look for:

  • Interaction with another person. Does the toy require two people to play? Interaction with another through play is a great way to encourage talking.
  • Does the toy encourage use of verbs? Saying verbs (action / doing words) are absolutely essential to your child’s talking development.
  • Does the toy inspire imagination play? Imaginative play encourages and facilitates talking in children.
  • Does the toy interest a child? Providing language rich activities around your child’s interest will only facilitate and spur their talking development.

Two lines from Toy Fiesta that I love, because they do all the things described above to facilitate your child’s talking and learning, are: Pretend play and Puzzles.

Below are a couple specific examples:Organic farm play setHere are some benefits from playing with the Organic Farm set:

  • Helps with vocabulary development. It helps your child name animals, and make the sounds the animals make.
  • Verbs. The animals can do actions (eating, walking, sleeping, jumping). Using verbs are essential to language and talking development.
  • Inspires imaginative play. Your child will talk to the animals, he / she will talk for the animals, and have the animals play together.
  • Promotes interaction and play with other people.

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Here are some benefits from playing with the See Inside Alphabet Peg Puzzle

  • Helps with learning the alphabet and letters.
  • You can ask your child questions when completing the puzzle. For example, if he picks “b”, you can ask, “b for?”, and your child answers “basket”.
  • Once the puzzle is complete, you can take the letters of your child’s name out of the puzzle and spell their name. The first word your child will learn is their name. The first letters he / she will learn are the letters in their name.
  • Promotes a love of literacy and letters.
  • Children love matching activities.
  • Promotes fine motor development through how the child grips the puzzle pieces. Using this puzzle requires a “pincer grip”. Development of the pincer grip is required in order to hold a pencil correctly in the future.