Help Kids Talk: 10 Easy Speech Therapy Techniques at Home

By Anuradha Karanam

Last Updated: May 30, 2024

Speech therapy techniques can help your child develop better speech and communication skills, and they don’t have to be confined to a therapist’s office. In fact, there are many simple and effective strategies you can use at home to support your child’s speech therapy progress. These techniques are not only easy to implement but can also be seamlessly integrated into your daily routines, making speech practice a natural part of your day.

Imagine turning everyday activities into opportunities for your child to improve their speech. From mealtime conversations to playtime instructions, the possibilities are endless. By incorporating these simple speech therapy techniques, you can make a big difference in your child’s communication abilities. These methods are designed to be practical and engaging, ensuring that your child remains interested and motivated.

Read More: Home Based Speech Therapy Activities

1. Give Your Child Choices

Offering your child choices is a powerful way to encourage communication and build vocabulary. When you give your child a choice, you prompt them to use language to express their preferences. This simple strategy can make a significant impact on their speech development and reduce frustration when they can’t yet articulate their needs clearly.

For instance, during snack time, instead of handing your child a snack, you can ask, “Do you want an apple or a banana?” This not only gives them the chance to make a decision but also helps them learn new words. Similarly, during playtime, you can say, “Do you want to play with the blocks or the puzzle?” By doing this, you are creating opportunities for your child to use words to communicate their desires.

2. Model Simple Language

Imitation plays a crucial role in children’s language learning. By observing and copying the language used by adults around them, children gradually learn how to form sounds, words, and, eventually, sentences. As a parent, you can harness this natural tendency by modeling simple language during everyday interactions.

One effective technique is to bring objects close to your mouth while naming them. For example, if you’re playing with a toy car, hold it near your mouth and say, “Car.” This way, your child can clearly see the movement of your lips and hear the sound associated with the object. This visual and auditory combination helps them make the connection between the word and the item.

When you consistently model simple language, you provide a clear example for your child to imitate. For instance, during snack time, you might hold an apple and say, “Apple.” Then, as you hand it to your child, repeat the word. This repetition reinforces their understanding and encourages them to try saying the word themselves.

3. Use Parallel Talk

Parallel talk is a technique where you narrate your actions as you do them, providing a rich language environment for your child. This method helps children understand and use new words by hearing them in context. By simply describing what you are doing, you can make every day activities educational and engaging for your child.

For example, if you’re cooking dinner, you might say, “I’m chopping the carrots now. Look, I’m putting them in the pot.” Or, while playing with your child, you could narrate, “You are stacking the blocks so high! Oh, one fell down!” This constant stream of language helps children make connections between words and actions, enhancing their understanding and vocabulary.

The benefits of parallel talk are substantial. It exposes your child to a variety of words and phrases in a natural and meaningful way. By hearing you describe what is happening around them, children learn to associate words with their meanings and contexts. This technique also helps in improving their listening skills and understanding of language structure.

4. Expand Your Language

Expanding your child’s language involves taking their one-word responses and gradually turning them into longer phrases. This technique helps children move from simple words to more complex sentences, enhancing their communication skills and vocabulary.

For example, if your child says “more,” you can expand it to “more bubbles” if you’re playing with a bubble blower. Similarly, if they say “cookie,” you can expand it to “want a cookie.” This method not only teaches new words but also demonstrates how words can be combined to form meaningful phrases.

The key is to build on what your child is already saying. When they use a single word, respond with a phrase that includes that word plus one or two additional words. This approach helps them see how their language can grow and gives them a model to imitate. Over time, they will start to use these longer phrases on their own.

Gradually increasing language complexity is crucial. It’s important not to overwhelm your child with too much at once. Start with two-word phrases and, as they become comfortable, move to three-word phrases and beyond. For example, from “want cookie” to “I want cookie” and then to “I want a cookie, please.”

5. Use Visuals

Visual aids are incredibly powerful tools in helping children learn and understand language. They provide a clear and concrete way to connect words with their meanings, making abstract concepts more tangible for young minds. By incorporating visuals into your daily routines, you can significantly enhance your child’s speech and language development.

One effective way to use visuals is by creating picture schedules for daily routines. For instance, you can have a visual schedule that includes images of breakfast, playtime, lunch, nap time, and bedtime. This helps your child understand what to expect throughout the day, reducing anxiety and helping them anticipate activities. You can find free printable visual schedules online or create your own with pictures from magazines or printed images.

Another useful technique is to create a family photo book. Include pictures of family members, pets, and close friends, and take time to go through the book regularly, naming each person and describing who they are. This not only helps your child learn the names of important people in their lives but also builds their ability to associate names with faces.

Examples of Using Visuals in Daily Routines

ActivityVisual Aid ExamplePurpose
Morning RoutinePicture schedule showing steps like brushing teeth, breakfast, getting dressedHelps child anticipate and understand daily activities by providing a clear visual sequence of the morning routine.
Family MembersPhotobook with names and pictures of family membersTeaches names and relationships, helping the child recognize and remember the names of family members and their roles.
Object LabelsLabels on common household items (e.g., refrigerator, door, table)Builds vocabulary by associating words with objects, making it easier for the child to learn and remember the names of everyday items.
Story TimePicture books with repetitive phrases and simple illustrationsEnhances understanding and memory through repetition, making it easier for the child to follow the story and learn new words.

6. Try Expectant Waiting

Expectant waiting is a powerful technique that involves creating moments of anticipation to encourage your child to communicate. By pausing during activities or interactions, you give your child the opportunity to initiate communication, express their needs, and practice their language skills.

One simple way to implement expectant waiting is to pause during a favorite activity. For example, if you’re playing a game where you roll a ball back and forth, you can say, “Ready, set…” and then pause before saying, “Go.” This pause creates a sense of anticipation and prompts your child to say “go” to continue the game. This technique not only encourages them to use language but also increases their excitement and engagement in the activity.

Another example is during a daily routine like blowing bubbles. After blowing a few bubbles, you can stop and hold the bubble wand, looking expectantly at your child. You might say, “More bubbles?” and wait for them to respond with a word or gesture indicating they want more. This encourages them to communicate their desires and practice using language in a fun and interactive way.

7. Give Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in encouraging and motivating children to use language. When you give specific praise for positive behaviors, it helps your child understand what they did well and encourages them to repeat those actions. This approach not only boosts their confidence but also fosters a positive learning environment.

Instead of just saying, “Good job,” try to be specific about what you are praising. For example, you can say, “I love how you cleaned up your toys all by yourself!” or “Wow, you did a great job saying ‘please’ when you asked for more juice!” This specific feedback helps your child understand exactly what behavior you are praising and reinforces the desired action.

Positive reinforcement motivates children to use language because they associate speaking and good behavior with receiving praise and attention. When children know that they will receive positive feedback for their efforts, they are more likely to engage in those behaviors again. This encouragement is particularly important in language development, where consistent practice and positive interactions are key to progress.

Using positive reinforcement can be integrated into various daily routines. For example, during playtime, if your child asks for a toy politely, you can say, “I love how you asked for the toy so nicely!” During mealtime, if they use a new word to describe their food, you can praise them specifically: “Great job saying ‘banana’!”

Positive Reinforcement Examples

SituationSpecific Praise ExamplePurpose
Child cleans up toys“I love how you cleaned up your toys all by yourself!”Reinforces the behavior of cleaning up and promotes independence and responsibility.
Child uses polite language“Great job saying ‘please’ when you asked for more juice!”Encourages the use of polite language and good manners, reinforcing social etiquette.
Child correctly names an object“Wow, you did a great job saying ‘apple’!”Supports vocabulary development and boosts confidence in using new words correctly.
Child follows directions during play“You did an excellent job putting the blocks in the box!”Encourages following instructions and completing tasks, reinforcing listening and comprehension skills.

8. Use a Little Bit of Sabotage

Using a little bit of sabotage is an effective strategy to encourage children to ask for help, thereby promoting problem-solving skills and language use. This technique involves creating situations where your child needs to communicate to achieve a desired outcome, which naturally motivates them to use their language skills.

One simple way to use sabotage is by placing toys or favorite items just out of reach. For example, you can put their favorite toy on a high shelf or give them a snack in a sealed container. This creates a situation where your child has to ask for assistance to get what they want. They might need to say, “Help, please,” “Open,” or “I want the toy.”

Another example is to deliberately give them the wrong item when they ask for something. If they request a specific toy, hand them a different one and wait for their response. This prompts them to correct you, using language to clarify their needs. For instance, if they asked for a ball and you give them a car, they might say, “No, ball!”

This strategy not only encourages language use but also enhances problem-solving skills. Your child learns to identify the problem and communicate effectively to resolve it. It also teaches them persistence and patience as they learn that communication can help them get what they want or need.

9. Repeat and Reinforce

Repetition is a fundamental part of learning new words and solidifying vocabulary for children. When children hear words repeatedly in different contexts, they begin to understand and use them more effectively. Integrating new words into daily conversations multiple times can significantly enhance your child’s language development.

One simple way to incorporate repetition is to use the same word or phrase throughout the day in various situations. For instance, if you are teaching the word “apple,” you can use it during different activities: “Would you like an apple for a snack?” “Look at this red apple,” or “Let’s count the apples in the basket.” Repeating the word in different contexts helps your child understand its meaning and usage.

Another effective strategy is to use songs and rhymes that include the target words. Children enjoy the rhythm and melody of songs, making it easier for them to remember and repeat the words. For example, a simple song about animals can reinforce the names of different animals, like “The cow says moo, the dog says woof.”

10. Sing Songs

Using songs to teach language is a highly effective and enjoyable strategy for children. Music naturally engages children, making it an excellent tool for language development. Songs can help children learn new words, understand rhythm and intonation, and improve memory through repetition.

One of the key benefits of using songs in language learning is that the repetitive lyrics and melodies make it easier for children to remember new words. For instance, popular children’s songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” contain repetitive phrases that help reinforce vocabulary. These songs also introduce concepts like animals, sounds, and actions in a fun and memorable way.

Incorporating gestures into singing can further enhance learning. Gestures provide visual cues that help children associate words with actions, reinforcing their understanding. For example, when singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” you can use hand motions to demonstrate the actions described in the song, such as wheels going round and round or doors opening and closing. Similarly, with “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” you can touch each body part as you sing about it, helping children learn the names of body parts through both auditory and visual input.

Here are a few examples of songs and the words and actions they teach:

  • “The Wheels on the Bus”: Teaches words like “wheels,” “doors,” and “wipers” along with corresponding actions.
  • “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”: Introduces animal names and the sounds they make, such as “cow” and “moo.”
  • “If You’re Happy and You Know It”: Encourages children to follow instructions and learn action words like “clap” and “stomp.”
  • “Itsy Bitsy Spider”: Helps with fine motor skills and sequencing as children mimic the spider climbing up the spout.

Using songs in your daily routine can make learning language a natural and enjoyable part of your child’s day. You can sing during playtime, car rides, or even while getting ready in the morning. The key is to be consistent and enthusiastic, making the experience positive and engaging for your child.


Using simple speech therapy techniques in your daily routines can greatly improve your child’s language skills. By giving your child choices, modeling simple language, using parallel talk, expanding their language, and using visuals, you create a rich learning environment. Techniques like expectant waiting, positive reinforcement, a little bit of sabotage, repetition, and singing songs make learning fun and engaging for your child. These methods are easy to use and can fit naturally into your everyday activities, making language practice a normal part of your child’s day.

As you use these tips, your child’s communication skills grow, and your bond with them will strengthen through these meaningful interactions. Celebrate their progress and be patient. For more support and guidance, Wellness Hub offers helpful resources and expert advice through our online speech therapy programs. Visit our website to find more tips and programs tailored to your needs. Your efforts are important and make a big difference in your child’s speech and language development.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are some simple speech therapy techniques I can use at home?

Simple speech therapy techniques you can use at home include giving your child choices, modeling simple language, using parallel talk, expanding their language, using visuals, trying expectant waiting, giving positive reinforcement, using a little sabotage, repeating and reinforcing words, and singing songs.

2. How can I help my child improve their speech at home?

You can help your child improve their speech at home by integrating language-learning activities into daily routines, such as offering choices, using visuals, and singing songs. Consistently using these strategies can create a supportive learning environment.

3. Why is it important to model simple language for children?

Modeling simple language helps children learn new words and understand how to form sentences. By seeing and hearing you use language, they can imitate and practice these skills themselves.

4. What is parallel talk and how does it benefit my child?

Parallel talk involves narrating your actions as you do them, which provides a rich language environment. It helps children learn new words and understand their meanings through context.

5. How does giving my child choices improve their speech?

Giving your child choices encourages them to use language to express their preferences. This not only helps build their vocabulary but also reduces frustration by allowing them to communicate their needs more effectively.

6. How can using visuals help my child’s language development?

Visual aids, such as pictures of daily routines, family members, and objects, help children understand and anticipate activities. Visuals make abstract concepts more concrete and enhance vocabulary learning.

7. What is expectant waiting and why is it useful?

Expectant waiting involves creating moments of anticipation to prompt your child to communicate. By pausing during activities, you encourage your child to use language to express what they want to happen next.

8. How can positive reinforcement motivate my child to use language?

Positive reinforcement, such as specific praise for using language correctly, motivates your child by making them feel good about their efforts. It encourages them to repeat the behavior and use language more frequently.

9. What is the strategy of using a little bit of sabotage in speech therapy?

Using a little bit of sabotage means creating situations where your child needs to ask for help. For example, placing toys out of reach encourages them to use language to request assistance, which helps develop problem-solving and communication skills.

10. How does singing songs help with speech development?

Singing songs helps with speech development by introducing new words and phrases in a fun and memorable way. Incorporating gestures into songs also reinforces learning by associating words with actions.

About the Author:

Anuradha Karanam

Speech-language pathologist (7+ years of experience)

Anuradha Karanam is a skilled speech-language pathologist with over 6 years of experience. Fluent in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and English, she specializes in parent counseling, speech sound disorders, fluency assessment, and speech-language evaluations. Anuradha excels at working with children with developmental disorders, offering creative and effective therapy programs. Currently, at Wellness Hub, she holds a BASLP degree and is registered with the RCI (CRR No A85500). Her patience, ambition, and dedication make her a trusted expert. 

Connect with Anuradha to learn more about how she can help you or your loved one find their voice.

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