Modeling language is one strategy you can use at home to help your child learn and acquire expressive language. Modeling is saying or doing what you would like your child to do in a certain communicative or play situation.
When providing verbal models for your child, avoid using words like “say” and utilize more naturalistic models of the words you want to hear. Below are some different ideas for how you can incorporate modeling into activities at home.
Model names and actions during play.
During play, you can model the names and actions your child is doing. For example, when playing with bubbles you can say “blow” when blowing bubbles and “pop” and “wow” when the bubbles are in the air. You can also model “bubble” as a one-word request for your child. Model car noises such as “vroom” and “beep beep” when playing with cars and various animal noises when playing with a farm set.
Model asking for help.
You can also model appropriately making requests for assistance. If your child needs help opening a toy or accessing something, you can model the word “open” or “open please”. If they need help with a task such as opening a door that’s stuck or reaching something too high, you can model words like “help”.
Modeling gestures is another way you can provide communicative examples for your child. During play activities you can model clapping your hands when you are excited or during the song “when you’re happy and you know it”. Modeling hand motions during “itsy bitsy spider” and “wheels on the bus” is another great way to gain your child’s attention during the songs. In order to gain their attention, you can model pointing to objects in your environment that you want to share with your child to get their attention.
By: Lauren Billingsley, M.A., CCC-SLP