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Practical Tips

Language Stimulation

How to Speak to Parents


Language Stimulation

What can I do in the mean time to help?

Here are a few ideas below!

What is Language Stimulation?

There are many strategies that you as Early Childhood Educators can use to build a child’s expressive and receptive communication skills. These are tools that can be implemented in the classroom and will benefit the language development of all children! Visit for further great language stimulation tips!





 Playing with your child, and describe OWN action
 You are playing with cars, and you crash it, you could say “Oh no, it crashed!”
 Comment on what you do
Parallel Talk
Talking alongside the child.
Play and comment on what the child is doing.
 Teacher: “You have a really pretty car. The girl is really pretty.”
Imitate what the child says
Child: “Bear”
Teacher: “Bear”
Restate the child’s sentence and make it grammatical
Child: “Baby…bed”
Teacher: “The baby is in the bed”
Comment on the child’s sentence but provide more information
Child: “Daddy Car”
Teacher: “This is Daddy’s blue car.”
Build ups and breakdowns
Use expansion to make the child’s sentence more grammatical, and break it down while keeping some of the original sentence
Child: “Daddy car”
Teacher: “This is Daddy’s car. Daddy is going to drive the car. The car. Daddy is going to drive. Drive the car. Daddy is going to drive the car.”
Use the child’s sentence but resay it as a grammatically correct sentence. 
Child: “Daddy car” [shakes head]
Teacher: “This is not Daddy’s car.”


Check out our language stimulation poster!

Print this out and hang it in your classroom to remind yourself of language stimulation strategies! 

Observe, Wait & Listen (OWL) - Hanen Program® strategy


  • Observe to find out what’s on the child’s mind and what they are interested in.
  • This will provide you with valuable information regarding how to encourage their communication.
  • Observe their body language & facial expressions to see what they are trying to tell you.


  • Waiting provides the child with the opportunity to start the interaction with you.
  • Show the child you are waiting for them to take their communication turn by stopping talking, leaning forward and looking at your child expectantly.
  • This teaches the child the important skills of conversational turn-taking.
  • Some children also need time to process information and formulate a response.
  • When waiting, count to 10 to allow the child time to respond.


  • Pay attention to all the child’s sounds, words and movements.
  • If even if you can guess what they’re trying to say, try not to interrupt until you know they have finished talking.
  • This lets the child know that what they’re saying is important and encourages further communication.
  • If you are having difficulty understanding what they are saying, showing the child that you are trying your best to understand them continues to build their confidence.

(Weitzman & Pepper, 2004)

Interactive Book Reading

Reading with a child is not only beneficial for their vocabulary development, but also facilitates carer/child interactions, exposes them to concepts of the world and things beyond their everyday, and is also the foundation for all literacy success!

(Weitzman & Pepper, 2004)

Book Reading Strategies:

  • Book Sharing Triangle - Create a reading triangle between you, the child and the book. This way you can still see each others face and read the child's cues for their engagement in the activity.
  • Face and Voice - Use over the top facial expressions and silly voices to bring the book to life. This will ensure a positive experience for the child and will pique their interest for future books.
  • Take Turns - Take turns reading, it doesn't necessarily have to be what's written in the book. Describing the pictures or talking about the book works as well!
  • Words and Text - Alternate between reading what's on the page and having discussions about the pictures/story. It isn't imperative that you read the book from front to back either, follow the child's lead!

(Gawned & Lee, 2012)

How to Facilitate Language Development in Book Reading:

  • Commenting: Take note of what about the book the child is interested in, make a comment, and wait for them to respond.
  • Asking Questions: Ask a question about something the child has shown interest in - make sure this question is at their language level!
  • Responding by Adding a Little More: Use the strategies in the above table to reiterate the child’s phrases and wait for them to take their communication turn.
  • Giving Time to Respond: Expectant waiting is a strategy whereby you wait and give the child an opportunity to take a communicative turn before you comment again.

(Paul & Norbury, 2012, p 77)

Helpful Websites for Interactive Book Reading:

Professional Development Workshops

  • Keep an eye out on SPA's Non-Association Events page for workshops that are designed to help Early Childhood Educators promote children's communication through specifc activities such as D.I.R floor time, incorporating Narrative or Hanen workshops. 

How to Speak to Parents

Tips for that difficult conversation with parents

As an early childhood educator, you will encounter times when you need to communicate with parents about their child’s progress or difficulties.

Here are some tips to develop effective communication with parents:

  • Use positive language.
  • Don't compare children within your classroom, instead use the communication development milestones as a guide for typical communication development. 
  • Use observations and examples recorded in the Communication Checklists to support your concerns.
  • Always ask for parents’ perspectives and home observations. For example, ask "What have you noticed at home?"
  • Encourage seeing a Speech Pathologist to address these concerns. They can then provide the best course of action. 
  • Be understanding and respectful of parents' views, perspectives and decisions.
  • Provide practical tips as support strategies.

Below are a list of parent handouts from Speech Pathology Australia that you may want to use when talking to parents.

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