15 Tips for At-Home Speech Practice (and When to Do a Speech Evaluation)

15 Tips for At-Home Speech Practice (and When to Do a Speech Evaluation)

Posted on June 22, 2023

Parents play a vital role in nurturing our child's speech and language skills. 

Encouraging language development at home sets the foundation for effective communication and helps children thrive in various aspects of their lives. 

In this blog post, we'll share 15 tips for at-home speech practice that you can easily implement in your daily routine.

These practical strategies will support your child's language acquisition journey, foster their confidence, and create a positive environment for effective communication.

The Importance of Encouraging Language Skills at Home

Children's language skills are shaped and influenced primarily by their interactions at home. The consistent exposure to language, meaningful conversations, and enriching experiences within the family environment lay the foundation for their speech development.

While speech therapy sessions are valuable and provide professional guidance, they are limited in duration. Your role as a parent in creating a language-rich and supportive environment at home is crucial in reinforcing the skills learned during therapy and helping your child generalize them to everyday situations. Maximizing the effects of speech therapy involves incorporating the recommended strategies into your daily interactions, reinforcing the concepts taught during therapy, and actively participating in your child's speech practice.

By recognizing the importance of your role and actively engaging with your child in speech-enhancing activities, you can prevent speech delays and support their progress during and outside of therapy sessions. Your consistent involvement, patience, and encouragement will provide a strong foundation for your child's speech development, enabling them to become confident, effective communicators.

Let's see now 15 things you can do to encourage your child's speech development.

15 Tips to Encourage Child Speech Development at Home

Encouraging your child's speech development is a wonderful journey that starts right at home. By implementing simple yet effective strategies into your daily routine, you can create an environment that fosters speech development and sets the stage for your child's lifelong communication abilities. Here are 15 valuable tips to help you nurture your child's speech development.

1. Engage in Daily Conversations

Conversation is key when it comes to promoting speech development in children. Make it a habit to engage in daily conversations with your child, no matter how young they are. Talk to them about their day, ask open-ended questions, and encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings. By actively listening and responding, you provide valuable language models to help your children speak better, expand their vocabulary and acquire valuable communication skills.

2. Read Together

Reading is a powerful tool for language development. Set aside dedicated time each day to read with your child. Choose age-appropriate books with engaging stories and colorful illustrations. As you read, point out objects, ask questions, and encourage your child to participate in the storytelling. Reading together not only enhances vocabulary but also develops listening skills and fosters a love for language and storytelling.

3. Expand Vocabulary Through Play

Playtime is an excellent opportunity to expand your child's vocabulary. Engage in imaginative play, use descriptive words, and encourage your child to name objects and actions. For example, while playing with toy animals, discuss their characteristics and sounds they make. Incorporate new words and concepts during play to help your child develop a richer and more diverse vocabulary.

4. Sing and Rhyme

Songs and rhymes are not only fun but also effective in promoting speech development. Sing nursery rhymes, silly songs, and repetitive tunes with your child. These activities enhance rhythm, speech patterns, and phonemic awareness. Encourage your child to join in and sing along, allowing them to practice pronunciation and develop their listening skills.

5. Provide a Language-Rich Environment

Create a language-rich environment by surrounding your child with words. Label objects around the house, talk about everyday activities, and discuss the world around them. Use descriptive language and encourage your child to describe things they see and experience. This constant exposure to language helps children grasp new words, understand their meanings, and strengthen their communication skills.

6. Model Correct Pronunciation and Gestures

Modeling correct pronunciation is essential in helping your child develop speech skills. Demonstrate how to form sounds and words by speaking clearly and enunciating. Use gestures and visual aids to support understanding and communication. For example, if you're teaching the word "cat," you can make a clawing motion with your hand or imitate a cat's sound. These gestures and visual cues help reinforce the meaning and pronunciation of words, making it easier for your child to learn and imitate.

7. Establish a Speech Practice Routine

Consistency is key in speech development. Set aside specific times each day for speech practice activities. This can involve practicing speech sounds, playing word games, or using flashcards. By incorporating speech practice into your daily routine, you provide regular opportunities for your child to practice their speech skills, reinforce what they've learned, and make steady progress over time.

8. Encourage Social Interaction

Social interaction plays a crucial role in speech development. Encourage your child to engage with peers, siblings, or participate in group activities. Through social interactions, children learn turn-taking, listening, and responding to others. These skills are vital for effective communication. By fostering social opportunities, you provide your child with valuable practice in using language to connect and communicate with others.

9. Introduce New Words and Concepts

Expand your child's vocabulary by introducing new words and concepts during daily activities. Talk about the steps involved in tasks like cooking, cleaning, or getting dressed. Describe actions, objects, and their attributes, encouraging your child to actively listen and participate in conversations. This exposure to new words and concepts helps your child develop a deeper understanding of language and the world around them.

10. Offer Praise and Positive Reinforcement

Celebrate your child's efforts and achievements in communication. Offer praise and positive reinforcement to boost their confidence and motivation. Recognize their progress, even small steps forward, and provide specific feedback. For example, you could say, "Great job pronouncing that word clearly!" or "I love how you expressed your thoughts so clearly." By focusing on their successes and providing encouragement, you create a supportive environment that encourages continued growth.

11. Limit Screen Time

Reducing screen time and promoting face-to-face interactions is crucial for speech development. Excessive screen time can hinder social interaction and impede speech and language skills. Encourage your child to engage in real-life conversations and activities, which provide opportunities for active listening, turn-taking, and practicing communication skills in a natural and interactive way.

12. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you have concerns about your child's speech development, it's important to seek professional help. A speech therapy professional can assess your child's speech and language skills, provide a diagnosis if needed, and develop an individualized treatment plan. They have the expertise to address specific speech challenges and guide you and your child on the path to effective communication.

13. Provide a Variety of Communication Opportunities

Offer your child a variety of communication opportunities. Encourage them to communicate in different settings and with different people. This can involve interactions with family members, friends, or participation in group activities. By exposing your child to diverse communication situations, they can adapt their communication skills, develop flexibility in their speech, and become more confident in expressing themselves.

14. Be Patient and Supportive

Each child develops at their own pace, so it's important to be patient and provide a supportive environment. Avoid comparing your child's progress to others and focus on their unique strengths. Celebrate their individual achievements and offer support and understanding during their speech development journey. Recognize that progress takes time and that every step forward, no matter how small, is significant. Create a nurturing atmosphere where your child feels safe to explore and express themselves. Show patience, understanding, and empathy, providing them with the support they need to navigate their speech development milestones.

15. Attend Speech Therapy Sessions

If recommended by a speech therapy professional, attending speech therapy sessions can be incredibly beneficial for your child's speech development. These sessions provide targeted intervention and strategies tailored to your child's specific needs. A speech therapist will work closely with your child to address any speech challenges, improve articulation, enhance language skills, and promote effective communication. Speech therapy sessions offer a structured and supportive environment where your child can receive guidance, practice their skills, and make progress with the guidance of a qualified professional.

Remember, every child's speech development journey is unique. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can provide valuable support and create an environment that nurtures your child's speech and language skills. Celebrate their progress, be patient, and seek professional help when needed.

When to Do a Speech Evaluation

As parents, it's not only crucial to actively encourage and support your child's language skills but also to be proactive in monitoring their speech development and recognizing any potential concerns. While every child develops at their own pace, there are certain signs that may indicate the need for a speech evaluation. 

If you notice any of these signs in your child, it may be beneficial to consider seeking a professional speech evaluation. Early identification and intervention can make a significant difference in addressing speech delays or difficulties. 

Here are some signs to be aware of:

  • Limited or delayed speech: If your child is not speaking or has a limited vocabulary compared to their peers of the same age, it may be a red flag for potential speech delays.
  • Difficulty understanding or following instructions: If your child consistently struggles to understand and follow simple instructions, it could indicate underlying difficulties with receptive language skills.
  • Unclear or unintelligible speech: If your child's speech is consistently difficult to understand, even for familiar listeners, it may indicate articulation or phonological disorders.
  • Lack of age-appropriate speech sound development: If your child is consistently mispronouncing sounds or substituting them with other sounds, it could be a sign of an articulation or phonological disorder.
  • Limited expressive language skills: If your child has difficulty expressing themselves using age-appropriate sentences, grammar, or vocabulary, it may suggest expressive language delays.
  • Difficulty with social communication: If your child struggles with engaging in conversations, maintaining eye contact, turn-taking, or understanding social cues, it may be an indication of pragmatic language difficulties.
  • Persistent stuttering: If your child exhibits frequent repetitions, prolongations, or blocks in their speech that persist over time, it may be a sign of stuttering.
  • Lack of progress despite exposure to language-rich environments: If your child does not show progress in their speech and language skills despite being exposed to a language-rich environment and receiving support at home, it may be beneficial to seek an evaluation.


By implementing these 15 tips for child speech development in your daily routine, you can create a nurturing environment that supports your child's language acquisition journey. Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so be patient and provide them with a supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

At Dempster Therapeutic Services, our team of experienced speech therapy professionals is dedicated to providing comprehensive and individualized care for children of all ages. Whether your child is experiencing speech delays, articulation difficulties, or language disorders, we are here to offer tailored solutions to meet their unique needs.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us at (847) 999-3990 or email us at [email protected] or schedule online a free discovery call. Let us partner with you in creating a solid foundation for your child's speech and language skills.

Remember, every child's speech development journey is unique, and early intervention can make a significant difference. Take the first step today by contacting Dempster Therapeutic Services, where we are dedicated to helping your child communicate with confidence and thrive in their social and academic pursuits.

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