Estimated read time : 7 minutes
The moment your baby says his/her first word is a precious one and what’s more priceless is when your child calls out Mamma or Dadda (Mom or Dad). It’s a moment all parents wait for eagerly: their child’s first word. Several photos and videos capture this victory in a child’s development as a memory to be cherished forever.
Yes, this is just the beginning and there is so much more to come. As a parent and guide, there are ways to facilitate linguistic development by giving them an enriching environment. Remember, language development is a critical part of your child’s holistic development. It supports your child’s ability to communicate, express, and understand feelings. Additionally, a well-built vocabulary also boosts confidence.
Recent research by MIT has shown that not just language but an intentional conversation between an adult and a child is what can actually develop the child’s brain. The more interactive conversation and play kids are involved in, the more they learn.
Try these strategies to facilitate language development in your child-
Research suggests that music and language are linked to early child development. Music is such a great resource for teaching new skills and modelling language in a fun and interactive way. Most toddlers love songs, and singing songs together is a great way to encourage speech and expression. It is loads of fun and can be a vehicle to teach several lessons such as following directions, body parts, new vocabulary, etc.
The following are some of my favourite songs to sing with toddlers. These songs teach prelinguistic skills (skills needed before a child can even talk) such as to cause and effect, turn-taking, and joint attention. This means even if the child is only performing the actions to the song, it is still a great stepping stone on the road to communication. Songs can also help build vocabulary, encourage verbal imitation, and teach academic skills.
Take two phones – one for you another for your toddler. Pick up the phone say, ”Hello !!” and encourage your child to respond. Try talking and extending the conversation as much as you can. This can be their favourite pretend play game which will help them learn the art of conversation and help build their language too.
This popular game can be played with children anywhere in your house, at the park, at the supermarket or while reading a book.
You start by saying
“I spy something that is round and you love to kick it”.
“I spy something that is used to drink water.”
“I spy a red colour fruit in a basket”. Provide as many clues to help the child guess the object you are talking about. Next, let your child do the same. This is great to increase the observation skills of children and helps them describe objects effectively.
In general, discourage a lot of nonverbal cues or pointing. Do not lend things if your child is only pointing. If they are pointing at the bottle for water, ask them what do you want? Oh, you want this biscuit? Or you want this apple? Mamma can not understand can you please say what you want? If the child doesn’t have the vocabulary to speak ask them to repeat after you, Oh! you wanted this bottle of water. Please say, “I want water”.
This will help boost their vocabulary and they will learn to label.
Fix a dedicated reading time any time of the day. For toddlers, the best books are the ones with a lot of pictures and less of text. Grover.J -Director, Institute of Education Science, US-Education Department says, “Picture book reading provides children with many of the skills that are necessary for school readiness: vocabulary, the structure of stories and language, pleasure of learning, the meaning of print, sound structure, sustained attention”.
Related: 30 Best Books for Toddlers
Sit with your child and read out the story and later show them the pictures and ask them some questions basis the pictures. E.g. what do you see in this picture? What is the colour of this dress?
Let the child answer as per their observation. This will boost their observation ability, listening skills, speech ability and their vocabulary too.
Some books that toddlers love-
Add details to what your child says. If your child says apple, you revert by saying “Yes, this is an Apple. It’s a red apple. If your child says ball, revert saying “Yes, this is a big round ball. This will help build and expand their vocabulary.
These simple activities will surely make learning a lot of fun for your toddler. Try these expressive child language development activities for toddlers at home and continue to encourage your children to speak well by constructing a healthy and fun learning environment. This will unleash their creativity and broaden their linguistic skills.
Guide your child on how to express their thoughts, feelings and actions better through the use of words as this will prepare them to face the world with confidence as they grow. Remember, a little patience and innovation on your part can encourage your toddler to learn better!
“Speak to your children as if they are wisest, kindest, most beautiful & magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become- Brooke Hampton”