Communication and language skills are vital aspects of early childhood development. Interestingly, children tend to pick up language quite naturally; however, how we interact with them still has a significant impact on how their language skills mature.
Read on to find our top tips on how to encourage language development in toddlers.
Ways to promote language skills in toddlers
There are five essential stages of language development: pre-production, early production, speech emergence, intermediate fluency, and advanced fluency. To encourage language and speech development in every stage, you can:
- Talk to your child
From infancy, make it a point to talk to your little one when responding to their facial gestures or baby laughs. Point out colours and shapes, or make animal sounds to help them relate a certain sound to a specific animal.
Where possible, use proper language and pronunciation to grow your child’s vocabulary and development of language skills. For example, saying “cat” instead of ‘ca”. Children are rapidly absorbing everything that you do.
- Read together
Reading books together on different topics allows your child to use words in a variety of different ways. Try speaking about things that are happening around you. For example, “We saw a dog today, just like the boy in this storybook. What was the colour of the dog?”. Initiate conversation using stimulating pictures or stories present in their book.
- Narrate your day
Get together with your toddler, and narrate how your day was. You can be descriptive, like: “It is a bright and sunny day today”! If you decide to go grocery shopping together, you can talk about the things you have to buy: “Look at the apples, they are so fresh and juicy”.
Moreover, you can talk during day-to-day chores at home too, “This is your blue shirt, you love to wear it, don’t you?” You can make it Montessori by inviting your child to help out with age-appropriate tasks such as putting on their shoes, wiping skills, or even preparing a snack together.
- Slow down
While having a conversation with your toddler, remember to slow it down. Take ample pause, and always give your little one a reasonable amount of time to respond. Once your toddler knows that they have your full attention, they are bound to start using words, gestures, and sounds to express themselves
Remember: toddlers learn the language at their own pace. After all, your child is actively processing new words and learning how to apply it in everyday situations. Talking, reading, singing, and more are great ways to help them during their early childhood development.