How to teach your child to talk




This picture was taken in July of 2009….my four children and my nieces and nephew….what a great day we had together….I spent the entire 4th with all of husband was at work…and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were also at work.  How great it is that they all have each other as family and friends….and I love to hear the interactions between all eight of them. And I love driving around with all of them in my car…makes me so happy to have them with me. custom car seat covers
Speech and language development often can be taken for granted…meaning how lucky we are when our child learns to communicate typically…an incidental learner….this means that your little one just learned to communicate by hearing language….some children, however, need more of a therapeutic approach to learning language…and when that is the case…I am sure to provide parents with strategies to help them help their little one. 

So below is a strategy I use to help little ones communicate…it is very simple…using your language….however delaying the correct response…in response to a non-verbal gesture….oh boy…what does that mean:

1.Child gestures……2.You  verbally respond (incorrectly….a few times)… you verbally respond…with the correct response.

So let’s call it….because I use the strategy…but do not have a name for it:

GSC (Gestures, Silly response, Correct response):child Gestures to a desired object (pointing to desired object, pulling you to desired object, or showing you the desired object)…incorrect-Silly-response by parent…..I find humor works wonders with little ones when it comes to language development….number of silly responses depends on you and child….and finally Correct response by parent. here are two examples:


Your little one points to the banana on your counter…indicating non-verbally that she wants the banana….to encourage verbal language from her…make some mistakes….and be silly….

Say: I don’t know…do you want the ketchup?.…(does she shake her head no….does she verbally say NO…does she make an attempt to say banana…maybe…and you have not even placed any language demands upon her).  And remember you are pausing between each of your responses…this way you are giving her a chance to communicate back to you..whether it is verbal or non-verbal.

Now say: Do you want juice?….(and again: does she shake her head no….does she verbally say NO…does she make an attempt to say banana…maybe…and you have not even placed any language demands upon her).  Again remember to pause again to give her a chance to respond.

Next say something like: Do you want my book? (pause)….and then say: Oh…you want the banana.  Then as you hand her the banana you say the word banana again.  This way she hears the correct production of the word…and you have not placed any language demands upon her.  Maybe next time she will make a verbal attempt to indicate that she wants the banana.

I should note…I do NOT use this strategy with a little one who is also struggling with receptive language development.  This is her understanding of language.  If  she is having difficulty with her understanding of language…this strategy will be too challenging for her.  Address the receptive language component…improve her understanding and then she may be ready for GSC.




Your child takes your hand and pulls you to the front door (this is the gesture…she is non-verbally saying that she wants to go outside).  Now say: What do you want? (pause).  You want to take a bath? (pause)  You want to take a nap? (pause) You want to eat lunch? (pause)  Now say: Oh you want to go outside! And as you open the door and go outside be sure to say the word: OUTSIDE

Remember when you pause…you are waiting for a verbal or non-verbal response from her.  This will encourage expressive language without placing too many demands. 

And please remember again not to use this strategy if your little one is struggling with receptive language development.

And be sure to look on my Teach Me To Talk tab at the top of my blog for more strategies on how to improve expressive language development. 

Have fun!


About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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