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Developing strong communication skills at a young age helps a child grow and flourish; begin learning how to support your child’s language skills. All children learn at different rates, but by starting at a young age—and with help from you, of course—they’ll be on the path to success!
Talk To Them
Use basic language when you talk to your child, but don’t oversimplify things; instead of using baby talk, ask your child very simple questions. Moreover, don’t get too detailed when you talk since it can easily confuse their young minds. When you speak to your child, consider:
- Expanding upon and repeating what they say
- Describing what you do or see
- Eliminating negative comments
As you talk to your child, use description whenever possible to give them practice with language; for example, if you’re walking outside with your child and see a large dog, point it out to them by saying, “Look at the big dog walking!” If your child says, “Dog walking,” simply say, “The dog is walking.”
Another great way to improve your child’s vocabulary and keep them entertained is to play with them, and better yet, you can play virtually any game so long as it requires talking. Some games work better for improving language skills than others. Since they need listening skills and an understanding of communication, try playing:
- I Spy
- Simon Says
- Red Light, Green Light
Each of these games works a slightly different understanding of language. I, Spy requires creative thinking and descriptions, but Simon Says engages both speaking and listening skills.
Another option for playing together includes using toys. For example, farm toys benefit your child by allowing them to play and understand different animals.
Read With Them
The final way on how to support your child’s language skills is to read together. Reading to your child is crucial to their development. By listening to stories, we retain new knowledge and understanding through characters. If your child is too young to begin reading, carve out time in the day to sit down and read to them. As you do, point out the words on the page.
However, if your child is of reading age, find time in the day for them to read to you as this gives them necessary practice in speaking and literacy. If you’re struggling to get your child interested in reading, try making it fun by:
- Baking together and having them read the recipe
- Taking a trip to the library
- Start a book club with neighborhood children
Harnessing language at a young age is critical since we use it every day both to complete tasks and bond with others. If your child doesn’t understand these skills when they’re young, they may struggle to use communicative tools when they grow up.