Maria L., Parent to a Better Speech Client Submitted this Question: “Sometimes I feel like I ask my toddler, who is 4, too many questions. He just looks at me and doesn’t reply. I want to know about his day at daycare, what can I do to not overwhelm him?”
One of the most common mistakes we see parents make when it comes to speech therapy for kids is bombarding their child with too many questions. They want to know about their day, but they have to remember that conversations should be fun as well as encourage two-way conversation instead of asking too many questions. That can feel intense to a little one who is not always sure how to answer.
How to keep your toddler engaged throughout the conversation, from Better Speech SLPs:
- Try cutting down the number of questions and make more comments. As a simple guide it should be to use 3 comments for each question. You may see that your child has something to say when you take the pressure off. For example, instead of asking your child how the ice cream tastes, you could comment “That ice cream looks yummy!“
- Ask various question types, including choice questions (“Do you want the ball or the car?”), yes/no questions (“Do you want to take a bath?”), and some WH- questions (“Who came home?” “What is in the basket?” “Where is the kitty?”).
- Try using open-ended questions, as these can keep the conversation going. Try “What do you think of this show?” instead of “Do you like this show?” which might only yield a yes/no reply.
- Ask questions about what your child is interested in and follow their lead. If your child doesn’t usually like talking about what happened at school, ask them only about their favorite subject or activity, like “How was art class today?” That way you can get the conversation rolling.
- Give your toddler time to reply. Little kids and especially those with a speech or language delay may need more time to process the question and put together their answer. After you ask them something, try waiting 10 seconds for your child answer.
- Model an answer if your child can’t answer the question on their own. It’s a great way to teach new vocabulary and introduce new idea.
And don’t forget to have fun. Kids learn best during play. While you are playing games and engaging in the fun activities your child enjoys, they will be extra motivated to chat. It’s a great time to share ideas and improve their language skills.
At Better Speech we know you deserve speech therapy that works. We have experts in your needs and assign the right therapist; not just the therapist that happens to be in your area. If you want to find out more about our services, contact us to schedule a free consultation.