The moment children have a Speech Delay, the first advice or tip a parent gets from extended family or professionals is to talk a lot to him/her! Keep talking to the child all the time! But is that enough?
Communication is not non-stop and one-way like a cricket commentary :-)
Research has shown that successful interaction mandates that the parent keep in mind the following:
Interest of the Child: What is it that my child likes to do in his daily routine, his favorite toys and objects to play, which places he likes to go to etc.
Repetition of the Language needed for the Child in Natural Daily Life Situations: One of the ways to do it would be using the key word to be taught to the child at least 5 times in that routine. E.g. soap needs to be repeated 5 times per day in the bath routine for a week and he would learn it faster than showing the child flash card of the soap once a day for 30 days.
Changing his/her Interaction Style to suit the child’s needs: Not being the TESTER parent i.e. Constantly asking questions is a primary change that most of the parents need to adopt so that the child does not feel bombarded with questions. There are many such changes which a parent needs to borrow based on the child’s communication stage and personality.
A competent QUALITY of interaction (especially for children below the age of 5 years) should involve all the three above in the daily routines of the child.
But why daily routines? Well, that brings me to QUANTITY! The moment you change your quality of interaction in your day-to-day routine activities like when brushing your child, feeding, bathing, dressing him/her up etc. you are automatically teaching him to understand or speak key words in that routine on a daily basis. The whole experience of using the words in naturally occurring situations repetitively will make for a rich language-learning environment for the child.
So Quality of the Interaction is Primary. It is important that parents are talking about what the child is looking at and interested in which will amount to both the parents and the child enjoying the process of communication, reducing the stress and anxiety for both. Also maintaining the quality of interaction in daily routines will make sure that the child not only learns language but also uses it spontaneously in daily life situation/ routines. Unlike a skill like swimming that needs to be practiced only in one situation, as in water, Communication is happening all through the day in different situations and with different people.
"With improved interaction comes quality and repetition in daily routines comes quantity! "