My daughter says “yes” and “no” a lot. How can I help her expand her answers?
Ask good questions! Your child may not have the vocabulary to tell you what she wants for lunch, but giving her the opportunity to try will help her expand her language skills.
Simple questions to begin with should involve choices of things you know she will want. “Do you want a bagel or pasta?” When children begin answering choice questions, they often imitate the last choice you say. As you notice her becoming more accustomed to answering choice questions, place a choice last you know she doesn’t want.
Soon, advance to open-ended questions. For example, “What book do you want to read?” Initially, You may not hear “Go Away, Big Green Monster.” Perhaps an attempted word or an approximation of a word will be heard (e.g., “moner” for monster).
Expand your child’s attempt, and model the title while your daughter is looking at your mouth “Yes! Let’s read: “Go Away, Big Green Monster!”
The next time she asks for this book, hopefully she will expand her utterance (e.g., “geen moner”).
Enjoy your daughter’s language skills at all stages. After all, it won’t be long before she tells you “And don’t come back, until I say so!”
Should you feel your child needs support with speech and language skills, and you live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, please feel free to contact Stephanie Sigal, M.A. CCC-SLP, speech therapist. Stephanie looks forward to hearing from you!