4 tips (and exercises) to stimulate children’s language

Verbal language is a skill that is not only used to express needs and wants; it is a skill that greatly influences the ability to organize, structure and mentally assimilate external information.

It is a process that usually begins in the first year of age, with sounds and stammering at times unintelligible, and it is estimated that around 2 years begin to structure first words.

The first sentences and the most complex words are learned between 3 and 4 years old and it is expected that at these ages other communication skills will also be developed, such as greeting or saying goodbye, interacting orally with peers, understanding commands, repeating topics, asking questions, speaking spontaneously , improve pronunciation, among others.

    Exercises to stimulate verbal language

    It may take a little longer for boys or girls to acquire the skills to communicate verbally, and this situation usually causes a lot of stress for caregivers, especially if the little ones have already started going to school.

    Fortunately, there are several exercises we can do, even at home, that stimulate many of the skills needed to develop oral language.

    Here are four exercises that can be useful and simple, And which also take into account the fact that language is acquired through the successive development of different skills.

    1. Work on lingual and labial praxis (oral gymnastics)

    Praxis is the voluntary motor skills that we usually acquire through imitation. Lingual praxis is the movements we voluntarily perform with the tongue and labial praxis are the movements we perform with the lips.

    Performing lingual and labial praxis promotes articulation; that is, they are useful because they stimulate the parts of the body that allow us to make sounds and words. For example, we can sit in front of the child, move their tongue in different ways that grab their attention, and ask them to imitate those movements.

    We can also play games that involve blowing, smiling, or making facial gestures. that allow you to move your lips in different ways. One of the most engaging exercises for toddlers is to make a dice with different pictures that show different ways of moving their lips and tongue, and ask them to imitate them next to us.

    2. Stimulate vocabulary with onomatopoeias

    An onomatopoeia is a word that mimics the sound of the action or object to which it refers. For example, the sound we make when we knock on a door, the sound of the bell, of the clock, of an object in the fall, the sound of dogs, birds, cows, sheep, trains, cars, camps or ambulance sirens.

    These are all attractive and easy to pronounce sounds for the little ones; that is why they are a good starting point when we want to stimulate oral language. therefore we can play games like car racing, imitate the sound of sirens when we go with them in the street or if we see a train, or play at being different animals.

    3. Work on semantic fields: start with animals, colors, transport

    In line with the previous point, and remembering that language helps us structure and give meaning to information and external stimuli, we can help children acquire first words through different semantic fields.

    It is advisable to start with animals, colors or transport because it is the stimuli that are generally closer, facilitating their acquisition.

    We can present not only the sound but the name of the object and through different games, for example we can play on the farm, or take a trip, tell stories where the protagonists are animals, match different objects of the same color, paint and ask for the name of the colors, etc.

    4. Use material where they can associate picture and word.

    In the early stages of development, the information we receive is fundamentally sensory, that is, it enters through sounds, smells, touch, tastes and also visual stimuli..

    That’s why some of the tools we have available to stimulate children’s language are eye-catching images. For example, we can sit with the child and show him different pictures or drawings (again it can be useful to start with animals, means of transport or more everyday objects).

    Once they recognize and differentiate the sound of each object, we can tell it its name and ask it to repeat it, and even incorporate other everyday objects such as food or kitchen utensils (for example). example, names of fruits or vegetables, bread, cup, etc.) glass plate).

    It should be remembered that depending on the age, it is easier to pronounce some syllables than others, so it is good to start with words of one or two syllables and to have vowels and consonants that are easy to articulate. .

    Some general recommendations

    Children learn by imitation and by observation and experienceIt is therefore not necessary to give them detailed explanations of the games or objects. It is helpful to do the exercises ourselves while capturing their attention, and then ask them to repeat it.

    In addition, each boy and girl has their own rhythm, you have to be patient, perform the necessary repetitions. And in the same vein, remember that such strategies do not necessarily speed up the process in all boys or girls.

    In order to firmly strengthen the language, an in-depth assessment must be carried out, as well as a systematic exercise program adapted to the needs and to the area of ​​development close to the child. For example, in some cases it is necessary to initiate language stimulation with an emphasis on more basic skills such as swallowing or chewing, which must be detected by formal guidance.

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