5 Simple Ways to Help Your Child's Language Development (right from day one)
As you hold your new-born baby, you probably find it hard to imagine them chatting away but it isn’t long before they are forming words and then sentences, in fact soon you will look back and wonder what it was like when they were quiet! Even though their language development might not be the first mile stone you see, it does begin long before they actually start talking and as a parent you can do so much to help them from day one.
Here are our 5 top tips for helping your child’s language development.
Your baby may not be able to read yet, but they are learning so much from the experiences you are giving them. Sharing books together from day one gives you the opportunity to enjoy special moments together and foster an association between love and books. When a child feels safe and secure they learn better and pick up on the learning opportunities in their environment.
Reading to your child, even if it is simply pointing out the illustrations in a picture book, allows them to listen to your voice. They are comfortable and familiar with this sound after hearing it in the womb for so long, because of this they will listen more intently and be more relaxed in the process.
2) Listen to music
Music activates the same part of the brain where language develops. The patterns that we find in musical melodies can be found in language itself. It teaches young children the basics of auditory discrimination (discerning different sounds) and the repetition helps them to remember the words and phrases before they can even form them. Most children's songs and nursery rhymes purposely include a strong rhythm and sections that rhyme, both of which help children learn the patterns and structures of language, even before individual words, so are a good choice to play or sing for your child, but a variety of different musical styles (or just your favourites from the radio) will all help with language development.
Actively playing with your baby from day one is a fabulous way to foster healthy language development. As they get a little older allow them to lead the play experience and pursue the play opportunities they want to. Allowing them this freedom means that they will engage more readily in the activities, their natural sense of curiosity will motivate their learning and give them a healthy appetite for it.
To get the most out of these experiences for their language development, be sure to talk to them through the entire process. Say simple words and sentences that describe what they are doing, the objects they are using and the body parts they exploring. The more you talk, the more they listen and the more they learn. They may not be able to respond back yet but they will be taking it all in like a sponge.
4) Use Sign Language
Baby sign language helps your baby to communicate with you before they can even talk. Through the use of gestures and hand movements, it gives them a tool so that they can tell you their needs, meaning you can often meet them more quickly. Common first signs include words that are relevant to a baby like ‘milk, food and more.’
Having the power to effectively communicate will increase your baby’s confidence and understanding of the process and purpose language, which encourages speech to develop as a natural next step. There is also evidence that it reduces crying because children who can tell adults what they need by signing don’t need to cry for attention. Read more about getting started with sign language HERE.
Giving your baby as many social experiences as possible has a positive effect for many areas of development. With regards to language, exposing them to human interaction gives you the opportunity to model effective communication.
A great place to socialise your baby is at a baby class or group. They are stimulating environments where you can share the experience together. They will have children of their own age to watch and learn from and they will see you socialising and using language to connect with people too.
Develop their Language Skills at Tots Play
It is never too early to start working on your little ones language skills, and a Tots Play class is a great place to do this, plus support their all round development, while having lots of fun in the process!
With classes available children from newborn to toddler, you and your little one will find opportunities to explore music, play with a range of sensory toys, learn simple sign language, socialise and much more at each session, all in a relaxed, small class environment. Why not come and try it out for yourself?
Click HERE to find a class near you, and you will have a sophisticated communicator on your hands before you know it! Whatever you are talking, playing or reading about together, enjoy your special time together and we look forward to bringing you even more ideas for development through play very soon.
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