Repetition is an important strategy to use to help promote your child’s language skills. Some children need to hear a word over 100 times before they will even attempt to imitate the word. When promoting language, make sure you give your child lots of opportunities to hear a word.
Using this strategy with a baby may look something like this:
Your baby is playing with a ball. Parent says “ball” (pause) “baaall” (pause) “ball go” (pause) “ball” (pause) “go ball”, etc. The pauses are important because they give your baby an opportunity to say “ball.” First attempts may be simplified. For instance, your baby may say “ba” instead of “ball.” This is totally normal. Your baby may reach for the ball instead of saying something. Just continue to provide lots of opportunities for your child to hear the word.
Using this strategy with a toddler/child may look like this:
Your child is drawing with crayons and he does not know his colors yet. You can pick out a color to draw with (i.e. blue) and use the word blue numerous times in your conversation with him. For instance, “I want to use the blue.” “I like the color blue”. “I want to color the hat blue”. “Do you like blue?” “Blue is the best color.”, etc. You can bombard him with the word blue to help him make a connection between the word blue and the color blue.
I have seen this method work well with late talkers and children with language delays. The important thing to remember is to focus on one specific thing that you will repeat often during your interactions with your child.