Whether it’s ‘mum-mum-mum’ or ‘dadda’, baby’s first words are always a cause for great celebration. In fact it’s just the first step in learning to vocalise, process information and engage socially. Rebekah Sharp from Elm Tree Early Learning Centre shares tips for encouraging language development in your pre-schooler.
- Walk, talk and more talk – When it comes to language development, the more that you talk to your child the better. Name items as you are getting dressed or packing lunch, talk about where you are travelling in the car. Sing and use lots of facial expressions to keep them interested in what you are saying. Read books and tell stories to build vocabulary. Speak in a clear and simple manner rather than using ‘baby-talk’.
- Celebrate the milestones –Encourage all attempts your child makes at vocalising, repeating these sounds and giving them meaning. Give lots of positive reinforcement for leaning new words, remembering names and eventually forming sentences. By the age of 2 years most children have a vocabulary of around 50 words that they know, understand or say.
- Intervene early – Act quickly if you have any concerns around your child’s speech development. Hearing difficulties, cognitive delays or physical issues like cleft palate can influence how children communicate. Early intervention will enable the family to focus on helping the child adapt to these challenges prior to starting school.
Take time every day to talk together as a family, making sure that everyone has a chance to share about their day. This will build your pre-schoolers confidence and before you know it, they’ll be chattering non-stop and asking ‘how, why and who’ about every topic under the sun!
Posted: Sat 01 Jul 2017