10 developmental strategies to help your child understand language

  1. Look at what the child looks at AND look at his face so that you can adjust to his emotional state. Remember that the meaning of the words is not in the thing, but in our thoughts!
  2. Using language in context_, as the child tries to make sense of what is happening around him.
  3. Emphasize the use of gestural non-verbal language, to help the child understand, i.e. so that he can "see what he hears".
  4. Say HIS gestures aloud in your words_.Match your tone of voice to his emotional state and make it easy for him to connect his own experiences with your emotive voice, understanding and words.
  5. reduce the complexity: Keep your language simple, i.e. avoid long sentences but
  6. maintain correct grammar, melody and fluency:_use correct language, i.e. DO NOT distort your grammaras it distorts emotional meaning (e.g., the request "Give cup! Give cup!" is a command (and likely provokes refusal) that makes the child feel like a computer to be programmed, while "Can you please give me the CUP?" is a command. That cup over there. Your cup? Where is your cup? Yes, your cup!" feels like a friendly exchange between two people trying to figure out together how to understand each other and the world.
  7. Repeat the corresponding language or words in meaningful ways (i.e., not to "teach" or "test") and in many different familiar situations. Make sure it feels natural and not artificial, helpful and not "teaching".
  8. Tune your language to the child's actions and feelings: Be playful, first with 1-1 sensory and action games (joint attention), later also with toys (divided attention)
  9. Do what makes sense_and what you normally do with objects, e.g. don't turn the cup upside down, - until the child realizes that turning a cup upside down is a game
  10. and, very important: do it SLOWLY!!! Keep a slow/appropriate pace so the child can follow along and have time to process everything

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