One of the most powerful things you can do as a parent to promote your child’s language development is very simple – just talk, talk, talk. From the time your baby is born, talk to them about anything and everything, any time – during feeding, changing or when you’re holding your baby.
Babies’ brains are learning machines, set to absorb and adapt to their environment. Positive and rich language exposure is critical since research shows that one of the primary jobs of the infant brain is to acquire language.
This is because speech and language skills form the basis of success in future learning, including listening, paying attention, reading, writing and comprehension skills. The more often you talk to your child, the more opportunity they have for language exposure and development. Here are some ideas that should easily fit in to your daily routines:
- Talk to your young child about the items of clothing, their colours and functions, e.g. “your blue jacket with the big silver zip – it zips up to keep you warm.”
- Name the body parts and make them aware of the left and right sides of their body, e.g. “Your right sleeve goes on your right arm.”
- Talk to your young child about the colour, texture and type of foods they’re eating, e.g. “Red beetroot is a type of vegetable and red apples are a type of fruit – can you think of another food that you like that’s red?”
- Talk to your older child about what they’ve done that day and what their plans are tomorrow or for the rest of the week, e.g. “Tomorrow is Friday – do you have a spelling test tomorrow as usual? Should we practice the words one more time before you go to bed?”
- Reading stories or nursery rhymes in a quiet bedroom is not only great for language development but it can also help your child to settle down and prepare for sleep.
- Developing a routine of reading and talking quietly with your child before bed can help them to feel a sense of security. Also, the anticipation of a regular bedtime with this special and close one-on-one attention can help reduce arguments about going to bed.
These strategies can be effortlessly applied to other everyday tasks, when shopping, cleaning the house or at bath time. The key is to turn everyday routines into simple but wonderful language opportunities to optimise your child’s development.
Interested in learning more about the Fast ForWord program? Have a question about learning, neuroscience and/or education? Contact the team of health and education professionals at Sonic Learning.