Serve and Return: The Secret to Your Child’s Speech Development!

As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher, especially when it comes to speech development. Starting from the first months of life, your child begins to absorb information from the world around them, and communication plays a critical role in their cognitive and social development. By using the Serve and Return method, you can help your child develop their communication skills and build a strong foundation for their future success.

The Serve and Return method is a concept developed by the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University. It refers to the back-and-forth interaction between a child and a caregiver. The method involves the caregiver “serving” a verbal or nonverbal communication cue, and the child “returning” the response. This method is essential for language development because it helps children learn the rules of communication and develop their vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.

Here are some of the benefits of the Serve and Return method for speech development:

1. Encourages Turn-Taking: Turn-taking is essential in communication. Using Serve and Return, you can teach your child the importance of taking turns in a conversation. This skill helps children to become better listeners and speakers, which is essential for effective communication.

2. Increases Vocabulary: Children learn language by hearing it and then repeating it. Serve and Return encourages your child to use words and phrases they’ve heard you say, which helps them develop their vocabulary and language skills.

3. Improves Grammar: The Serve and Return method also helps your child learn the proper grammar and syntax of a language. By modelling the correct way to speak, you can help your child learn how to construct sentences correctly.

4. Builds Confidence: When children feel confident in their ability to communicate, they are more likely to engage in conversations and social interactions. The Serve and Return method helps build confidence by creating a safe and nurturing environment where children can practice their communication skills.

To use the Serve and Return method, start by using verbal or nonverbal cues to initiate a conversation with your child. For example, you might say “Look at the dog!” and then wait for your child to respond by saying “Dog!” or pointing at the animal. Be sure to give your child time to respond, and then continue the conversation by expanding on their response. For example, if your child points at the dog, you might say, “Yes, that’s a dog. What sound does a dog make?” Another example may be where a parent employed serve and return speech by suggesting that they read a book together about a little duckling and then asking their child what they think the duckling will do.

In conclusion, the Serve and Return method is a powerful tool for promoting speech development in young children. By using this method, you can help your child build their vocabulary, improve their grammar, and become more confident in their communication skills. Remember to be patient, give your child plenty of opportunities to practice, and celebrate their progress along the way.

Check out our video on How to Get Your Children to Talk!