How To Increase Imitation For Speech Production
I often get the question, “how can I get my child to speak?” The easy answer is, “show them!” Think about your first day of school or your first day at a new job. How did you learn to do anything? Did you walk in and just pick it up? No. Odds are someone showed you! This is called modeling. And when you repeated those actions, you imitated. Not only is this how you learned how to add or file paperwork, this is also how your child will learn as well!
Aside from innate instincts and reflexes, children must be taught. The best and fastest way for them to learn, is by imitating what you model for them. Have you ever wondered how your child learned to smile? It’s because of you. You’ve been smiling at them since birth and around 6 weeks they begin smiling as well. It’s no wonder that children primarily look at a person’s mouth when they are being spoken to; they are learning.
Now let’s discuss how you can use this to encourage your child to imitate more of your speech production.
1. Make sure that you have established joint attention. Joint attention is when two people pay attention to the same thing. In this case, you want your child to be paying attention to you. Having your child focus on your face, (specifically, your mouth) allows them to see you articulate sounds and words.
Some of the best times to establish joint attention include:
· bath time
· meal time,
· diaper changes.
2. Place your child’s hands on your face, (lips, cheeks). This not only ensures that they are attending to you, but also allows them to feel the vibrations of speech production.
3. Exaggerate sounds and words. The more you do so, the more your child will be likely to imitate. For example, zoom becomes zzzzzzzzooom!
4. Use that mom voice to your advantage! Don’t be afraid to raise your volume or change your intonation. These things allow children to be more engaged for prolonged periods of time, creating more time for language learning opportunities!
5. Remember, repetition is key! It may not happen right away, but give it time and keep trying. The more they see you modeling, the quicker they will imitate!