Self-talk and parallel talk are important strategies to incorporate into your daily routines as they will provide enhanced vocabulary and many opportunities for exposure to language. Remember it is beneficial to follow your child’s lead when promoting language development. So, try to use these strategies when you notice your child is showing interest or is already engaged in an activity. If they are not showing interest, it may be likely they are not retaining the provided language input. Be mindful when you use self-talk and parallel talk to ensure your child is engaged. You do not need to narrate and talk about every single thing you are doing throughout the entire day, choose small moments throughout your routine to provide an enriched communication moment. It is also helpful to keep the language models short and simple to make sure you are communicating at the appropriate level for your child to understand what you are saying.
When implementing self-talk, narrate what you are doing, eating, touching, seeing, or thinking when your child is not only present but seems interested as well. For this strategy, you will narrate your actions! As Early Intervention speech therapists, we begin teaching this behavior at an early age.
Example of self-talk: “I’m cooking! I’m making pizza. I need more cheese. I found the cheese. Yummy!”
When implementing parallel talk, narrate what your child is doing, eating, touching, or seeing. For this strategy, you will narrate only your child’s actions. It is a child-directed approach, so it is important to follow their lead throughout play.
Example of parallel talk: “Oh you have a block! It’s a purple block. Wow! You built a tower.”
Both of these strategies are easy to incorporate throughout daily routines or when you are down on the floor playing with your child. You may already be using these strategies without realizing it! It is important for your child to be exposed to many words. The more they hear, the more they will start to use it!
Implement both forms of talk throughout your daily routines, to help promote and reinforce language skills with your child on a daily basis. Be animated, and have fun!!
Jacqueline Pfeiffer, CCC-SLP
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