By age 5, your child’s vocabulary should include around 2,000 words, especially in an environment where parents are actively involved in the process. To reach that goal, Mezzatesta recommends parents:
- Talk, sing and read to their children starting at birth.
- Engage children in new experiences, such as grocery shopping, which presents opportunities to examine foods and talk about their appearance and tastes.
- Encourage their children by asking questions that stimulate thought and language.
- Provide children with objects that stimulate the five senses. Encourage them to describe the object and name the sounds it makes.
- Have a child imitate new words until he or she can recite them easily.
- Create a scrapbook of pictures and label them.
- Teach opposites like “push” and “pull” or “throw” and “catch.”
- Read to your child and point to the photo or word so they make associations.
If your child isn’t meeting milestones in speech or vocabulary development, make an appointment with your health care provider, who can evaluate the child and determine the best course of action.
Some children may be referred to a speech therapist to help identify the cause for the delay and help “catch them up,” Mezzatesta says..
“To give your child the best chance, early identification and early treatment of any concerns is best,” she added. “Many children can catch up with limited therapy; however, some may need more help.
“Either way, the earlier delays are identified, the earlier we can get to work addressing them.”