Article by Jane Parker,
1. Don’t anticipate your toddler’s needs. If she points to the fridge, ask him if she wants milk or juice rather than just getting her a glass of milk. Use every opportunity to ask questions with options rather than those requiring a nod or shake of the head!
2. Provide a commentary to your baby’s day. Even before your baby can speak, talking about what you’re doing together helps him to associate words with the things he sees. It doesn’t have to be complicated – just pointing out the red bus he’s looking at, or explaining all the delicious ingredients you’re putting into his lunch will be fine.
3. Make sure if you ask your little one a question, you leave time for him to respond. He might not speak, but those little babbles, giggles and noises are your baby’s way of joining in the conversation!
4. When you’re reading stories together, give your theatrical skills a full airing – make silly sound effects and create funny voices for the characters. When your child sees that language and words are fun, they’re more likely to join in themselves and try out new words.
5. Don’t correct young children if they mispronounce words; you might put them off trying new words next time. Instead, repeat their words back to them, using the correct pronunciation yourself. They’ll soon get the idea!
6. Sing songs with your child, especially those with fun noises and actions. Encouraging her to join in will develop her vocabulary and memory.
7. Use simple games to introduce numbers, colours and letter sounds. As you tidy up, suggest he finds the red toys while you put away the yellow toys. Challenge your toddler to count blocks when you build towers, or steps as you go upstairs. Playing “I Spy” is a great way of introducing phonics to young children.
8. Imaginative play is a great way for older toddlers to practice their conversation skills – most three year olds love bossing their toys around! This doesn’t have to be expensive: most children will be just as happy with peg dolls and a cardboard box ‘house’.
9. Engage your child in household chores. As you sort the laundry, talk about colours and shapes. In the kitchen, let children help with weighing ingredients, or mixing foods together.
10. Little ones can find ending a word correctly very tricky, for example he may say bow for boat. Show your child a picture of a boat and ask him to name the object. If he says bow, then you can say: “Oh you said bow!” and show him the picture of the bow. Then, really exaggerate the ending of the word boooooooatttttttt. This sounds (and looks) very silly but is effective and most children begin using the endings quite quickly.
Talking Tots is the UK’s leading provider of fun, interactive classes that help children to communicate with confidence.
Come along to Talking Tots and discover a host of imaginative, exciting activities that encourage little ones to get talking. Each session is carefully designed by child development experts to build communication skills and social confidence – the cornerstones of a healthy and happy life.
Class are nationwide – take a look at our website for further information www.talkingtots.info
I run Talking Tots classes in Tunbridge Wells, these classes have been designed by speech and language therapists to gently boost children’s language skills. For more information email jane@talkingtotsinfo
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