A child’s speech and language development begins the moment he or she enters this world and starts to notice what is going on around them. Every step from here is important for them because speech and language development starts immediately. So are parents supposed to put babies in a phonics class before they even start babbling? What can we do to help their speech?
From infancy to about 3 years old, some parents assume that “the kid won’t understand us”, but that’s not true. This is the crucial period where they form their perceptions of communication, and the most effective one of them is speech. Here are a few tips for you to help boost your toddler’s speech.
Sing their favourite tunes
Songs are one of the first few forms of speech that children find familiarity in. You can start by singing the songs yourself and then slowly pausing at the end of some lines for your child to sing the last word. The tunes naturally make a child remember words better, so singing songs with them will make them learn more words easily!
Labeling objects and actions
Starting from infancy, instead of engaging in baby babble, parents can start talking to the child about what they are doing and label each action. Once they start to crawl around and pick up things, you can start to ask them questions like, “Are you ready to play now?”. When they are playing with a bouncy ball, say “bounce the ball” as they throw it to the floor so that they know the spoken words for each action.
Slowing down your speech
Sometimes, adults tend to forget that we are speaking at a faster rate than children. When speaking to your child, remember to slow down so that you can articulate each word clearly for your child to learn from your speech. Patience is also very important when trying to teach your child. Remember that each child is different and everyone has varying learning paces. Stop to help them with words that they struggle with and come back to a certain sentence another day if they can’t seem to pick it up.
Talking instead of counting
Some parents tend to focus punishments on counting down, sound familiar? However, especially when you are getting riled up, kids will be impacted by words that you are saying while being emotionally charged, they will tend to remember the words that you say when you are angry. So instead of just counting, tell them what they have done wrong in words and why they deserve the punishment. This way, they will learn more words and understand their own mistake too.
Reading books together
Not only is it a great way to put children to sleep, it also peaks their interest especially if the storybook is eye-catching. Reading is when kids pay the most attention to words, how they sound and what letters look like, so try to spend more time reading with them even when it’s not bed time!
Teaching based on their babbles
Children’s first words are babbles, which become singular words and then they slowly utter short sentences. When they start to form these short and sometimes inaccurate sentences, you can take their sentences and expand it to full sentences. By expanding on what they already know, it’s easier for them to register more words and they learn to communicate better.
Adding tone to your voice
As children pick up on words, they are also listening to the tone of your voice and reading your expressions. Therefore it’s important to be consistent with your words, tone and expression so that your child can understand words more and know what words to use when he is feeling those emotions. Use a stern expression when saying no if they are doing something wrong, so that they grasp the concept of what “no” means.
Sounds easy enough? We may think it’s a piece of cake but still make some mistakes when communicating to babies and toddlers naturally. Take note of these simple tips and start teaching them more and more words daily!