Narrate your actions during daily routines: Children benefit from repetition and talking to your child during daily routines such as getting dressed, mealtime, and bath time provides the repetitive exposure they need to learn new words.
Read books: Predictable and repetitive books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? help to build language skills as well. For repetitive books like this, try to pause when you get to a repeated line or word and see if your child will fill in the blank.
Music: Singing songs and finger plays provide exposure to important skills such as rhyming, an essential reading readiness skill. Children who are taught nursery rhymes at an early age have better reading skills than those who were not exposed to them.
Model after mistakes: If your child makes a mistake using language, and for example says “I runned really fast!” model and rephrase the correct use of the word, such as “Oh you ran really fast!”
Spotlight new words: Give emphasis to new words or new concepts such as “That’s a BIG ball!” This will help the novel words to stand out to your child so she can use them on her own.
Yes or No?: Help your child to understand and to ask questions. Play the yes-no game and ask questions such as “Are you a boy?” “Are you dinosaur?” “Can a cow fly?” Encourage your child to make up questions and try to fool you.
Wait for it: After you model language to your child, pause and wait for her to respond. Your child will need longer processing time than an adult to not only understand what you said, but also so she can formulate a response.
To learn more, contact Tina Morrisey, Director of TLC’s Speech-Language Services.