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Help! My toddler doesn’t like to speak

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 05:13pm
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Some children seem quiet and reluctant to talk. Some don't naturally and easily use language to express their needs and wants, to comment on things, to get information or to entertain others. Other children may use language comfortably, but only in familiar situations. Being quiet in new situations is very common in children, particularly young ones. But you may be concerned that your child is too quiet, too much of the time.

There are many reasons that a child may be reluctant to speak. Two fairly common reasons are:

  • When placed in a new situation, your child may be worried about what to do, or be concerned about being away from home or from parents. For a child, deciding not to speak is one way to feel some control over an unfamiliar, somewhat scary situation.
  • Your child may feel pressured or embarrassed to speak, like the fear that many of us feel of talking in front of a crowd.

The important thing to remember is that your child isn't trying to embarrass you by not cooperating, or "acting dumb." She is just dealing with the situation as best as she can, so be patient and understanding.

If the situation doesn't improve, or gets worse - for example, you notice your child only talks to one parent, or not at all while at day care - it's time to get some help. Consult your child's physician, or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Does your child refuse to speak? Does he start talking after warming up to new people? Leave a comment below and share you experiences with other parents who are just like you!

 

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Reading to your toddler and language development

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 05:09pm
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The latest science tells us that reading to our children does much more than please and delight them. It helps them to build a large vocabulary and a range of language skills such as good listening and comprehension skills, which will help him learn to communicate and which are also related to children's reading ability as they grow.

As a parent, you can do many things to turn story time into learning time:

Open a book and read to your child to introduce her to basic aspects of reading, such as the way to hold a book and how to turn a page.

Read favourite books again and again. This will help her learn vocabulary. With enough repetition, she may also learn to tell the story on her own. Praise her for the new words she has learned and for her good memory.

Stop often and ask your toddler questions about what you have just read, and what might happen next. This will help him develop listening skills and increase his comprehension of what you are reading. He'll also begin to learn how stories are organized.

Give clues about how reading works. Point to the words and pictures on the page as you read aloud to show him how the words go from left to right across the page, how words are separated by spaces, how words are made up of letters, and how pictures of objects correspond to words.

There are other ways you can promote language and pre-literacy skills in your child, such as pointing to and naming objects around the room to increase comprehension and vocabulary, saying nursery rhymes and playing rhyming games to help him manipulate sounds, and having conversations during everyday activities.

Knowing you are teaching your child as well as pleasing him, is one of the real rewards of parenting.

Content provided by the Canadian Language and LIteracy Research Network.

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