Communication is a skill that includes language and the ability to understand others via a way of words, gestures or facial expressions. The development of your child’s language skill is most prolific during the first few years of their life as their brains are developing rapidly. This is a necessary time to expose your child to ways of learning new words as often as possible.
We have listed a few activities that you can do daily to help encourage your child’s speech and language education:
- Conversations: Start a conversation and follow your child’s lead. Respond with interest to anything that has caught their attention and try to have the conversation go back and forth at least five times. The more conversations you have with your child, the more talking practice and information they have to build their language skills.
- Talk about experiences: Encourage and prompt your child to describe something they have done, seen, or heard about. Use comments and questions to inspire them to recount the order of the day’s events.
- Enjoy simple outings: Before departing on your day’s journey, interact with your child, talk about what is going to happen, where you are going and what you will be doing. When out, take photos to make into a photo book after your outing so your child can retell their experience.
- Songs and rhymes: Tune your child’s ear to sounds, rhythm, rhyme and patterns of language, enrich children’s vocabulary, and encourage fun and nonsense use of words. Recite songs, poems, funny scenes in movies and lines from their favourite book to encourage word memory.
- Dress-ups and role play: Children gain confidence through communication via acting out during roleplay; they can copy the language of others and act out scenarios. Pretending and joining in with your child will help to keep the conversation going.
- Puppet shows: Children learn to express their feeling and invent dialogue and conversations with other puppets. They can make up and act out stories, practising story words and voices.
- Talk about things: Beyond just the here and now to help children learn to understand and use that kind of language themselves. Talk about their feelings, how someone else might be feeling in a specific situation, explain the reason for an event in the story, predict what might happen next, think about what they would think, feel or do in a situation they haven’t experienced. Match your level of language to just ahead of your child’s level of communication, for example, simple questions and 3-4 words per sentence for a child only talking in 1-2-word sentences.
- Board games: Believe it or not, children enjoy learning how to follow instructions, move in a set direction, sequence ideas or predict outcomes which naturally prompt interaction and conversations.
There we have it, our top talking tips! As we all know, communication is critical for everyone’s development, not just your children, so start with these exercises and help your child learn as many words as possible through these easy activities.
If you enjoyed this, then you might be interested in reading our tips on Encouraging Early Literacy in Little Ones.