Language Stimulation in Children

This leaflet will provide with information about language stimulation in children.

What is Language stimulation?

Language stimulation is a set of techniques and strategies that are applied through interaction to help the child improve his/her communication and language skills.

What is the role of parents and families in language stimulation?

Parents and families have a very important role in helping children improve their language skills. A child who does not receive good language stimulation can develop a language delay. In order for parents and family to help a child improve their language, they must be familiar with the different ways they can help. It is also important for parents to teach language in real life situations, because language is an important social tool that is used for communicating with others and the world around us.

How can parents help to improve language development in their child?

To improve your child’s language development do the following:


  • Choose colorful books with large simple photos or drawings. Talk about the pictures
  • Talk about what your child is paying attention to. For example talk about milk and cereal when eating breakfast
  • Talk directly to your child using words he/she can use. Teach words that he/she needs to communicate


  • Allow enough time for your child to process information and find the word he/she needs to say.
  • Pretend you do not understand what he/she wants
  • Delay your response to your child’s communication attempts (pointing, gestures, babbling). This will give him/her a better chance to communicate his/her needs


  • Repeat or rephrase directions when he/she does not seem to understand

Other ways to improve language development:

  • Talk out-loud about what you are seeing, hearing, doing, and feeling

Talk out-loud about what is happening to your child. Describe what he/she is doing, seeing, hearing and feeling

  • Praise your child for responding to communication attempts. This will encourage more communication
  • If your child makes a mistake, model the correct language instead of correcting them directly. For example. if your child  says “I go park”, reply “yes, you went to the park”
  • Add more words to what your child says. For example if the child says “milk” you say “wants milk”
  • Sing to your child. This will help to improve verbal expression
  • Use body language and actions to convey messages
  • Ask simple questions such as what is that?
  • Ask open questions and avoid using yes/no questions. For example ask “what do you want?” instead of “do you want milk?”

What is extended discourse?

Extended discourse is language that is goes beyond the here and now. Examples include explanations that tell how something works or why we do things, telling stories about events that happened in the past or may happen in the future, stories used during pretend play and, talk related to other contexts during book-reading.

Why should you use extended discourse?

Engaging in extended discourse has the potential to increase your child’s vocabulary. Parents who talked more with their children about past and future events and provided explanations for how things work and why things are, had children with larger vocabularies 1 year later than parents who produced less of this type of talk.

Exposing pre-school children to extended discourse also gives them the ability to practice using the abstract language skills that will be expected of them in school. These language skills are important for supporting their ability to learn to read as well as forming social relationships with their peers.

How to use extended discourse to boost vocabulary?

  • Engage in pretend play with your child
  • Answer your child’s ‘why?’ questions
  • Start conversations about things you did together in the past. For example “Remember when we went to the Zoo last week?” and prompt your child to elaborate on the conversation by asking “What was your favorite part?”
  • Start conversations about future events and ask your child to make predictions. For example “Auntie is coming to visit soon. What do you think she will want to do while she is here?”
  • Read a book with your child and draw connections to their life. For example say: “The boy in the story is going to the hospital, just like you went to see the doctor last month. What do you remember about your hospital visit? Is it similar to the story?”
  • Read a book with your child and ask them to make predictions. For example ask: “What do you think is going to happen next?”