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  • Writer's pictureUnified Brain Health Care

Important skills to teach a 0-6 years old child- Tips from a speech therapist

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Ms. Nayantara Nambiar, Speech Language Pathologist, Unified Brain Health Care.

Families that come to speech therapy often did not worry about their child’s speech before because the child was reciting rhymes and could count from 1 to 100. Reciting rhymes is a tricky skill and remembering all the letters of the alphabet and the numbers is important but these skills are not useful for the child to communicate his or her thoughts and feelings.

If your child cannot convey their needs, e.g. going to the toilet or tell you when they do not want something e.g. don’t want to eat certain foods, along with other functions of communication (see image above), you need to see a Speech Therapist for supporting your child's needs.

There are so many reasons for which we communicate- When we talk, we can greet someone, e.g. say ‘hi’, we can request for an object/thing, e.g. say “I want ball”, we can convey our feelings, say “I am angry”, and even ask questions when we are not sure, say “What is this?”.

Teach your children a variety of words so that they can communicate in different situations.

For very young children, it is helpful to teach them words like MORE, WANT, DON’T WANT or STOP. These words can be taught in your native language or in English. These words will be helpful not only because they can ask you for what they want but also tell you when they do not want something.

Asking for their wants:

Give me MORE rice.

I WANT to eat chips.

These statements are going to make them happy as their requests will be rewarded and they will feel very powerful about their communication.

Expressing what they don’t want:

DON’T touch my toy

DON’T want carrot

STOP playing swing

If children are not taught to express their dislike, then children may feel frustrated, they may cry or they may even express anger/frustration in the form of challenging behaviours- e.g. throwing the toy, pushing the food away, hitting or kicking the parent. Teaching to use these words and respecting their preference will make sure that children have a way to calmly express to you their feelings.

It is important to use every opportunity you have at home to teach these words. Help your child practice saying what they WANT and DON’T WANT at home, so that when they go out to other settings, (e.g. grandma’s house, play group, friend’s birthday party), they know how to talk to everyone around them and can convey their message easily.

If you are stuck at any stage of teaching these words or you are concerned that your child is not able to learn and say these words, get help from a Speech Therapist. Your Speech Therapist can give you different ideas on how to teach these concepts and also support your child to learn and express them.

If you need support, Contact Us or Book an Appointment with our Speech Language Pathologist. Unified Brain Health Care is one of a kind integrated Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai for adults and children offering in person and online therapy in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Nutrition, Career Counselling, Fitness Coaching and Educational Intervention. We also offer Family and Marriage Counselling, Yoga Therapy, Infant and early childhood stimulation, infant and young child nutrition, care for caregivers and promote holistic brain health.