Family life is so busy! I have 2 busy little boys at home so trust me I know how hectic/messy/noisy life can get at times. The last thing anyone needs is another job to add to the to-do list, so when it comes to boosting your child’s language development it’s great to use the opportunities that already exist. This is stuff you are already doing, you just need to throw some extra language in there to make it a language learning activity!
So what do you talk about? Everything! Anything you can think of. Pay attention to what your child is interested in and talk about that. Talk about what you see or hear, why or how something is happening, what will happen next etc. Use language at about the level your child uses or slightly above (i.e. if you child uses single words, use 1-2 words together). By using simple but grammatical sentences and repeating the main words, parents can help their child develop their language (Weitzman, 2017).
For children just beginning to use single words it might sound a bit like this (example during meal time):
- Parent – “Drink? Pick it up. Oops! Dropped it! Pick up the drink.”
- Child – “Drink”
- Parent – “Yeah, big drink. Yum, yum, yum! Yummy drink!”
- Child – “More!”
- Parent – “More drink! Yum. Hmm, where’s the spoon? Here’s the spoon.”
- Child – “Spoon”
- Parent – “Stir the drink. Stir, stir, stir. Finished! More? More drink.”
For children who are already using some simple sentences it might sound like this (example during bath time):
- Child – “Wash face”
- Parent – “Yes. We are washing your face! Now, wash your arms. Scrub scrub! What grubby arms!!”
- Child – “Haha splash!”
- Parent – “Oh you’re splashing me? What a big splash! You’re doing lots of splashing tonight.”
- Child – “Want out.”
- Parent – “You want to get out? Ok. Finished your bath. Time to get out. I’ll lift you up. Up! Out of the bath.”
Don’t just label objects, there are some great other types of words to use when talking about things that are happening, including:
- Verbs (action words) like wash, make, squash, hang, change, fold, scoop…..
- Adjectives (describing words) like wet, soft, cold, pink, tricky…..
- Prepositions (position words) like under, top, around, near, between….
The great thing is that there are SO MANY things to talk about during most of our daily routines, and a lot of the time these activities provide a natural short burst of one-on-one time, even in amongst the chaos! Think nappy changes, bath time, dinner time, dressing, getting in the car (I could go on and on…). Another great thing is that these routine activities happen every single day so it gives an opportunity to share the same language with your child every day. The more opportunities your child has to hear the words, the more likely they are to imitate them and use them on their own.
So go on! Build more language into everyday life and see the huge boost it can give your child’s language development. As always, we are happy to help with your child’s individual language development. If you would like to discuss your child’s language development or any other communication concerns please contact us.
Weitzman, E. (2017). It Takes Two to Talk: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Language Delays. Toronto, ON: The Hanen Centre.