You HAVE to make yourself sound like a weirdo if you want to support your child's communication. Why?! Because sounding weird makes your little one TUNE IN to what you're saying and take notice. Let me explain.
Engaging children is all about making yourself interesting. We naturally use motherese/parentese (that sing songy voice) around them to make them look at us, we make big expressions with our faces that we totally wouldn't do if we were talking to a mate, and we play in silly ways like pretending we're a lion as we crawl around the lounge. Being weird engages children - so here's how to do it to improve their speech and language.
In the example in my picture, the child is trying to say "sun" but gets the first sound wrong. It's normal to get lots of sounds wrong, all the way up to school age. You should NEVER CORRECT your little one but if you repeat it back to them and make yourself sound weird, they're more likely to TUNE IN to how you said it, process that and perhaps say it your way next time. If you repeated the word back to them once and in your normal voice, they might not notice that you said the word any differently to how they said it.
So, SAY IT THREE TIMES! Sound positive! Agree with your child and put that word in a sentence. It might feel clunky and strange but that's the point, remember? If you also place lots of emphasis on the sound that you changed (the 'ssssssss' bit) that's going to draw even more attention.
This tip supports children of all ages and should be a staple for anyone working with kids. It works for speech sounds (like this example) but also for language. You've maybe heard on my videos of me talking to August that I repeat the same words over and over or sing them?! All that weirdness adds up to talking! E.g. August: "bus", Mr: "yes a biiiiiig bus! A biiiig bus, a big big big big bus!".
How weird are you getting? Let me know in the comments and tag any parents you think could learn from this!