Becoming a confident and chatty communicator is one of the most important skills your child will ever learn, but it doesn’t happen by accident. Our top tips give you ideas about how to support your child as they learn about language.

What is it all about?

Learning to talk is complex – getting the right sounds in the right place at the right time is complicated. It isn’t surprising that children often don’t say words quite like we do, they might miss out or change a sound. Using the right words is just as complicated, and they may not always get it right. As adults, we can show them how it’s done in an encouraging way to help them make progress.

By saying back what your child has said clearly and with encouragement, they will know that you are listening, value what they have said and they also get to hear how they would say it if they could.

For children just starting to use words… You can interpret what they are saying and say it back to them clearly. If your child reaches for her juice and says “doo”, you can say, “you want juice” as you give it to her.

For children using short phrases or more… You can repeat what your child has said and fill in the gaps or show how the word should sound. If your child says “I goed outdide”, you can say “you went outside! Wow! What did you do outside?”. If they say “Jack taked my twain and fit it”, you can say “that was very kind of Jack to take your train and fix it”.

This gentle and encouraging way of showing children what they would say if they could, will help keep the conversation going.

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