It is never too soon to being developing your child’s communication skills. From the youngest baby through the toddler years, children are building their language abilities long before they ever learn how to speak. Starting earlier can give your children an advantage over their peers when it is time for them to begin school. Fortunately, it doesn’t take fancy video programs or computer software to give your child a head start. Find out how you can begin building their skills now.
- Talking Is Key
Your baby’s best teacher is you. Talking to your children helps the language centres of their brains develop. You can explain what you’re doing while you’re doing it to help your child learn to relate the words to the actions you’re performing or what you’re holding. As you put on the baby bib, describe what you’re doing and your child will gradually learn what your words mean.
- Cause and Effect
You can explain as you go along to help your child relate actions to words. Turning on the light, for example, can be accompanied by you saying that you’re turning on the light. Although your child may seem to young to understand, eventually these words and actions will become connected in his or her mind.
- Encourage Interaction
A child’s stuffed bunny or other objects in your household can be another way for your child to relate actions and objects with words. You can use the child’s toy to help show actions while you describe them.
- Avoid Too Much Baby Talk
Most of us indulge in a fair amount of nonsensical talk when communicating with our babies. From “goo goo” to “boo boos” we tend to use playful sounds when we are dealing with young children. While some of this is fine, keep in mind that this is a chance for your child to begin learning words. Using the correct terms for items and actions helps children learn the words correctly from the start rather than having to relearn what things are called later.
- Surround with Words
Alphabet blocks can be only the beginning. You can also decorate your child’s room with artwork and signs that include letters and words. These can be visual reminders and learning tools to assist your child in learn the alphabet and words.
- Tell Stories
Think of it as an excuse to talk to yourself without getting funny looks. You can tell your child stories about your day, about the things your car is driving past, or anything else that comes to mind. Singing songs is another way to interest kids in communication and to improve their interaction with others.
Reading a book out loud is a wonderful way to spend quality time together while your child develops communication skills. You can start reading books to your kids long before they can really understand the stories. They can still look at the pictures and begin to associate the sounds with what is going on around them. As they grow older, this reading will encourage them to read until eventually they can make it a nightly habit to read to you or read along as you read out loud.