As early as one year, your little toddlers are already absorbing and decoding the world around them. Early communication between you and your child begins early on, so here are a few creative ideas and tips on how you can help enhance your child’s speech and language skills during the infant, toddler, and preschool years.
Converse with them!
For starters, start talking to your kids, and when I say talk, I mean converse. Conversations are very essential to improve language development in young children, but most of the time, especially when you find yourself “busy,” we just tend to nod, say yes, or even ignore them. This creates barriers, and we should be aware of times like this, so we can come back with an intuitive response for our curious little scientists which increases the quality and level of communication between the both of you as you grow together as a parent and child.
Yes. Bedtime stories!
The second thing you can do, and should probably do if you aren’t very “busy” (you shouldn’t be too busy for your kids; have you seen the movie The Boss Baby?), is to have that bedtime story routine. Make sure that you have an open ended story where you ask your little novelist who the name of the characters are and what they think happened next. Engage with them. This also means that bedtime should be a bit earlier (depends on your schedule) because this also helps with strengthening your parent-child relationship, a bond that is only strong for a special few and maybe after reading this, yours and your child’s too!
Merriam or Webster?
Thirdly, and the most obvious one is to start using unfamiliar words when you start having these conversations with your little librarian. Why? Well, they obviously would ask something like, “What does flabbergast mean?” Introducing at least a new word a day, even as part of “storytelling” can greatly enhance your little genius’ vocabulary which will impress the teachers too!
Additionally, with the internet and information being all too available for everyone, you may have a dedicated tablet or iPad for your little techy. If you do, you can use this as leverage to show your tiny actors educational shows on YouTube (that, of course, you must filter). A lot of language related educational content is available online, and you and your child will definitely benefit from them. But do remember to always find time to converse with them, and do keep the gadget use at a bare minimum.
Do all of these even if your child still has some difficulty with speaking or is the quiet type, because this shouldn’t be mistaken as the absence of comprehension. They still are learning and it is best that you give them something that they will truly treasure, your time. They will intuitively learn and appreciate the value of communication, which of course is the sole purpose of language development.