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Developing Language

Narrating Their World

It’s common wisdom that children exposed to language are better prepared for the verbal and written world. But like everything else in early childhood, words in context to what they’re DOING have the most learning impact. It’s a simple formula...

Experience (child) + Language (you) = Understanding.

 

Children are hungry for new words. So it’s important for us to pack their vocabulary lunchbox full of calories...

Be Specific

Try to be as literal as you can. For instance, when presented with a child’s painting saying “That’s beautiful” might make them feel good but it won’t give them more information about their painting. Instead, be specific with your praise: “I like the way you used yellow to create that circle.” Now their understanding of yellow and circles is more complete.

Use a Variety of Words

No matter where you are, take time to point out the rich details using nutritious language. For instance, when you’re both in the garden take a word tour. “This is a daisy. See how the petals are long and slender.”

 

Use simple comparisons to things they are already familiar with. “This is a flower too. It’s called a rose. See how the petals are red?” Use lots of different words in different ways to help new words make sense and sink in.

 

And don’t be afraid to use words you think might be too big for them. Kids love a challenge and besides, it’s fun to say rhinoceros!

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Make it Meaningful

Experience has more learning punch when it’s personal. Get down on the floor with your child so the learning is at their level. Stay close so you are experiencing it together. Use your child’s name. Reference new ideas to things they already know. “This peach is fuzzy like your teddy bear.” In short, make it about them.

Be a Verbal Model

Model proper pronunciation and grammar. Children imitate what they hear.

Use Context

Select words that have more than one meaning. It’s an easy way to introduce the nuances of language. For instance, the top of your head is not the same as top of your toe.

Make It a Conversation

Ask them questions. Answer their questions.  Wherever you can, let your child teach you. After all, nothing’s more empowering than a listener interested in what you have to say.

Twinkle Twinkle

Little ones don’t know how to wait to speak which is why they interrupt a lot. Here’s a way to turn waiting into a game… Choose a well-known rhyme like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Take turns saying one line of the rhyme. For even more challenge, take turns saying one word at a time. This is fun with just the two of you or with the whole family.

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An at a glance guide.

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How movement develops step by step. 

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Six ways to give your child the gift of language.

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And there's more...

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