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4 tips (and exercises) to stimulate children's language

4 tips (and exercises) to stimulate children's language

May 1, 2024

Verbal language is a skill that not only serves to express needs and desires ; it is a competence that greatly influences the ability to organize, structure and mentally assimilate external information.

It is a process that usually begins during the first year of age, with sounds and babbles sometimes unintelligible, and it is estimated that by 2 years the first words begin to be structured.

The first sentences and the most complex words are acquired between 3 and 4 years and it is expected that at these ages other communication skills will also be developed such as greeting or saying goodbye, interacting orally with their peers, understanding orders, repeating topics, asking some questions, speaking spontaneously, improving pronunciation, among others.

  • Recommended article: "The 4 stages of language development"

Exercises to stimulate verbal language

It can happen that children take a little longer to acquire the necessary skills to communicate verbally, and this situation usually causes caregivers a lot of stress, especially if the children have already begun to go to school.

Fortunately there are several exercises that we can perform, even at home, and that stimulate several of the skills necessary to develop oral language.

Below we explain four exercises that can be useful and simple , and that also take into consideration that language is acquired through the successive development of different skills.

1. Work on lingual and labial praxies (mouth gymnastics)

Praxias are the voluntary motor skills that we generally acquire by imitation. The lingual praxias are the movements that we perform with the tongue in a voluntary way and the labial praxias are movements that we make with the lips.

Performing both lingual and labial praxias favor articulation; that is, they are useful because they stimulate the parts of the body that allow us to emit sounds and words. For example, we can sit facing the child, move the tongue in different ways that call his attention and ask him to imitate these movements.

We can also make games that involve blowing, smiling or making facial gestures that allow the lips to move in different ways. One of the most attractive exercises for the little ones is to make a die with different images that illustrate different ways of moving the lips and the tongue, and ask them to imitate them together with us.

2. Stimulate vocabulary with onomatopoeias

An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound of the action or the object to which it refers. For example, the sound we make when we knock on a door, the sound of the bell, the clock, an object falling, the sound of dogs, birds, cows, sheep, trains, cars, fields or the sirens of ambulances.

All these are attractive and easy to pronounce sounds for the little ones; That is why they are a good starting point when we want to stimulate oral language. So we can make games like races with cars, imitate the sound of the sirens when we go with them down the street or if we see a train, or play to be different animals.

3. Work semantic fields: start with animals, colors, transports

In line with the previous point, and remembering that language helps us to structure and make sense of information and external stimuli, we can help children acquire the first words through different semantic fields .

It is advisable to start with animals, colors or transports because they are the stimuli that are usually closest, making their acquisition easier.

We can present not only the sound but the name of the object and through different games, for example we can play the farm, or take a trip, tell stories where the protagonists are animals, match different objects of the same color, paint and ask for the name of colors, etc.

4. Use material where they can associate image and word

In the early stages of development, the information we receive is fundamentally sensory, that is, it enters through sounds, smells, touch, flavors and also visual stimuli .

Therefore, some of the tools we have to stimulate the language of children are striking images. For example, we can sit down with the child and show him / her different pictures or drawings (again it may be useful to start with animals, means of transport or the most everyday objects).

Once we have recognized and differentiated the sound of each object we can tell its name and ask it to repeat it, and even incorporate other everyday objects such as food or kitchen utensils (for example, names of fruits or vegetables, bread, cup , glass plate).

Remember that according to age it is easier to say some syllables than others, so it is good to start with one or two syllable words and have easy to articulate vowels and consonants.

Some general recommendations

Children learn by imitation and through observation and experience , with which, it is not necessary to give them extensive explanations about the games or the objects. It is useful to do the exercises ourselves by getting their attention, and then to tell them to repeat it.

In addition, each child has its own rhythm, we must be patient, perform the repetitions that are necessary. And in the same sense remember that this type of strategy does not necessarily accelerate the process in all children.

In order to reinforce the language firmly, a thorough evaluation must be carried out, as well as a systematic exercise program appropriate to the needs and area of ​​the child's upcoming development. For example, in some cases it is necessary to initiate language stimulation by favoring more basic skills such as swallowing or chewing, which must be detected through a formal orientation.

4 speech therapy exercises to help babies start speaking. (May 2024).

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