Episode 25: My Opinion about the 2 Reasons Why Your Child maybe Delayed in Speech & Language
Today’s topic is a topic that is very dear to my heart and a topic I have talked about plenty. I have talked extensively about the causes, possible red flags for delayed speech and language in children. I have even gone ahead and given parents FREE access to the sample modules of the Late-Talker’s Bootcamp course to help parents get their child/children’s speech and language stimulated at home by making important changes to their home environment.
The two reasons that in my experience are most likely to be the cause for why a child is experiencing delayed speech and language are: 1) Overexposure to screens and 2) Understimulation.
1. The no. 1 cause of delayed speech & language in children is Overexposure to screens
I have talked about this in several occasions, but I am still encountering children who I feel are watching way too much T.V., phones, tablets, laptops and computers. According to research, children UNDER 2 years SHOULD NOT be exposed to any screens at all and children above 2 years should only be allowed 60 minutes i.e. an hour of screen time each day.
Limiting screen time means that a child is exposed more to activities that boost and not stunt speech and language development. Screens stunt speech and language development and this is because they are mechanical input that your child’s very young rapidly expanding brain is not able to make use of. A child’s brain needs human contact and interaction which is often the thing that is missing when a child is overexposed to screens.
Here are tips to keep your child engaged should you start to limit their screen-time.
2. The no. 2 cause of delayed speech & language in children is Under-stimulation
This is the other major reason why children are experiencing delayed speech and language.
I find that overexposure to screens and understimulation go hand in hand. A child that is understimulated is most likely to also be overexposed to screens.
Understimulation is where a child plays alone or interacts with themselves or is infront of a screen for a long time and as a result really has no need to be interacted with. A child’s speech and language may also be understimulated when their every need is preempted e.g. when it’s time for milk, a bottle is handed over to them, or when it is time for lunch they get fed without them being hungry or without them having to communicate.
The case against understimulation
When a child is so overly exposed or engaged in screens or whatever it is that is taking their attention, they have very little need to want to be engaged or to be interacted with and as a result, you find that more parents or caregivers are spending less time engaging, back and “forthing”, playing with this child because the child has little to no interest for interaction.
I for one, do not allow screentime in my house except for Sundays and this is when my children have accomplished a number of other things that they are supposed to accomplish like completing their homework. I find that when there is no screentime in the house, my children are constantly on my case, asking for things, fighting among themselves which in all present very good opportunities for language building and stimulation. But come Sunday when the screens are on, the house is quiet, there is a lot of peace and quiet. Nobody is coming to interrupt me, am not tearing my hair out. But really, this is not what a child who has not developed language requires.
Children under 2 years should not be exposed to any screens at all and children above 2 years should only be allowed 60 minutes i.e. an hour of screen time each day.
Your toddler need to be coming to you and pestering you because all of these moment present good teaching opportunities. So if your household only gets busy when the WiFi is out or there is a blackout or “battery is dead”, then this just might be an indication that your little child that should be developing their speech and language is probably being understimulated.
Final word on delayed speech & language in children
Screen time and understimulation are some of the things I talk about in the snippets of my Late-Talker’s Bootcamp course which can be accessed here for FREE. To learn more about the common mistakes and what you as a parent or caregiver can do to stimulate and develop your child’s speech and language please visit the Late-Talker’s Bootcamp page here and purchase the course here.