How can you encourage your child’s language development?
Communicating With Your Child
The more interactive conversation and play children are involved in, the more they learn.
Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to children will increase their vocabulary while providing increased opportunities to develop listening skills.
Here some ways you can help boost your child's communication skills:
- Talk about the day's activities.
- Talk with your child about the books you read together.
- Talk with your child about the TV programs and videos you watch together.
- Keep books, magazines, and other reading material where kids can reach them without help.
- Help children create their own "This Is Me" or "This Is Our Family" album with photographs or mementos.
Top Tips to support your child's language development:
1. Get your child’s attention
Face your child or sit down with them. Say their name before you start speaking. Talk about something you can both see in front of you. This helps them to learn what words mean.
2. Have fun together
Use actions, sing, make noises and funny faces. Don’t be shy, being a bit silly helps get their attention and makes them laugh and can encourage language development.
3. Comments not questions
Asking lots of questions can feel like it’s a test. Make it a conversation. When you talk to your baby comment on what they are doing and what is happening instead.
4. Give them time to think
Children need more time than adults to think about what they’ve heard, and to decide what to say back. Give them time to respond, and look at them while you wait.
5. Use simple language
Keep your sentences short. For example, “Food time now” or “Wow, you’re building a tower”.
6. Repeat what you say
It’s good to say the same thing over again. Babies and toddlers need to hear words and sentences lots of times to understand them and learn new words. This is key aspect of baby talk.
7. Make it easier for them to listen
Turning the music, radio or TV off helps children focus on your words.
8. Build on what they say
Adding one or two words to what they say helps your child onto the next stage of talking. So, if your child says “bus” you say “Yes, big bus”.
9. Speak in your home language
It’s important for children to learn their first words and sentences in their home language. Your child will learn in English later, at nursery and school.
10. Make it easier for them to talk
Dummies can get in the way of talking. Try to keep them just for sleep times. Take it out to talk.
11. Show them the right way
Young children often make mistakes. Show them that you understand, rather than asking them to repeat words correctly. Say the word or sentence again correctly for your child. If they say “Look at the dod”, you can say “Yes, it’s a dog”.
12. Copy what they say
Repeat back sounds, words and sentences. Whether its “la la” or “Oh, you liked the banana?”, it shows you’re interested and that sounds and words are important. This can help your baby's speech development.
Click on the links below to open up a traditional rhyme.
1. Can your child say the rhyme?
2. Can your child say the rhyme with actions?
3. Can your child tell you what the rhyme is about?
4. Can your child tell you their favourite line in the rhyme?