As a speech-language pathologist and a mother of two young children, I am fascinated by early language development. Infants develop language through interaction, and I want to share some ways to promote language development with your infant or toddler.
1. Talk to your child. Talk about the world around you. How the trees are so tall and the birds fly in the sky. Talk about what they and you are experiencing at that moment. Walks, bath time, meal times, and even grocery shopping are all daily opportunities to facilitate language learning. Simplify your language to short phrases and use repetitive words. When bathing your baby describe what she is doing or seeing and label each part of the routine. Water on. Shirt off. Wash toes. Wash hair, etc. During mealtime, emphasize the words “hungry,” “eat,” “yummy,” “more,” and “all done.” Describe the texture and taste, and be sure to label the food she is eating. Also, take turns talking with her. Even if she can’t say words you can still imitate or respond to the sounds she makes. Taking turns encourages her to speak more.
2. Play with your child. Get on the floor and play! Be engaged, be silly, make her laugh, and focus on her Interests. If she picks up the toy cow, you say “Cow! Cow says moo” Pause and give her an opportunity to respond. Again, simplify your language. I believe traditional toys, such as farm animals offer more language opportunities compared to electronic toys. Singing songs and playing games, such as peek-a-boo will also promote language learning. This is a great way to communicate with your baby before she can speak. Singing will capture her attention, teach vocabulary words, teach her to imitate, and many more benefits!
3. Read to your child. Books expose children to many new vocabulary words. Books targeted for toddlers often repeat the same words, which will help her understand the words. Illustrations will also help her connect meanings to words. Reading should be a shared activity. Allow her to turn the pages and don’t feel as though you have to read every word on the page. It’s okay to mix it up or just talk about the pictures. Point to the pictures when you read the words. If she is able, have her point to the pictures as well. Pointing will help her make a connection between the word and the object. Choose short, hard-cover books with colorful illustrations that will catch her attention.
I hope you enjoyed my post!