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Tips to Reduce Speech-Related Tantrums

Did you know, that toddlers who have higher language skills are less likely to display tantrums in preschool. Additionally, it has been found that children who develop language sooner are more inclined to have a calmer disposition when asking for help. These findings were based on a study by Roden, Cole, and Armstrong, proving that language is a major basis for reducing speech-related tantrums.

Here are some tips to improve language learning and reduce speech-related tantrums:

Make sure your child is paying attention.

Creating language learning opportunities are great however, you have to be sure your child is in the moment with you and is willing to participate with you. Just like it is difficult for you to pay attention when you are distracted the same can be said for your child. Try to create these opportunities when you are sure to have your child’s attention, i.e., bath or meal time, when they can’t run away or become distracted as easily.

Give your child a voice by giving them a choice.

By giving your child choices, you are allowing them to be a part of the decision making process. Thus, making them feel they have a say in what is going on around them and to them. For example, give your child the choice of having eggs with toast or with a hash brown, or the choice between the blue or the brown shirt. While they may seem like small choices, to your child they feel like they have a voice and they are being heard! Just imagine how great that feels!

Work your way up.

Do you find yourself more likely to keep doing something when you’ve just succeeded at another task? Guess what? Your toddler feels the same way. For example, If your child has been approximating for banana, apple, and pear but refuses to approximate for peach, present the options he can say first, and work your way up to the one they are refusing to say or having more difficulty saying. Always start with something easy and work your way up to something more difficult!

Praise approximations

Let’s face it, some words are simply harder to say than others, (i.e., spaghetti, cinnamon, etc.). Praising your child for an approximation will go a long way. If you have been practicing the word spaghetti and your child says “ti”, your job is to praise their approximation. However, as the child becomes more consistent with that approximation you will have to play a more difficult demand, and no longer praise the previous approximation of “ti,” but praise, “ghetti,” and so on. Just bear in mind that approximations count and sometimes that is your child’s only way of producing certain words, as they become more advanced language learners.

Take your child’s lead

If your child is playing with a ball and you were hoping that today you could work on the sounds an animal makes, don’t take away the ball and bring in farm animals. Let your child guide the play time AKA the language learning time. Your child is more likely to imitate words or attempt to say words when they are playing with a desired item than something that isn’t. Remember, building language through play is the most effective way to learn and it should be fun. Don’t let language learning turn into a stressful situation which will cause both you and your child unnecessary stress. Keep it fun and take their lead!

If you are concerned with your child's speech and language development and if you believe your child is exhibiting excessive speech-related tantrums, reach out to a speech language pathologist for a consultation.

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Diana Shimonova | January 5, 2021

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