Helping Your Child Learn Language

Sep 30, 2016

Helping Your Child Learn Language

Language and literacy are important concepts because together they play an important role in preparing your child for school. Beyond talking, singing, and reading, which are essential to language development, here are a few interactive strategies to help you engage your child in language: 

  • Following your child’s lead: Interactions will be more fun for your child if you follow her lead. Talk to her about topics that she enjoys. Make sure you are using information that is on target with your child’s development so she can build upon the information she already knows.
  • Wait Time: Teach your child the art of having a conversation and wait for a response. Sometimes children just need the opportunity to talk, so try a three-second rule. See if your child initiates the conversation and then respond back to her.
  • Mirroring: Sometimes it is helpful to repeat what the child has said or done to ensure you understand what she is saying. It can help you clarify what she is trying to express and it gives you the opportunity to expand her language by following up. For example, your little one may say, “I am sad.” You could respond to her by saying, “I understand you are sad that we have to leave the park now. Sometimes it is really hard to leave the park when you are having so much fun.”
  • Modeling: Similarly to mirroring, you can build on your child’s language by clearly articulating your words and showing her how to make complete sentences. For example, she might say, “Her is my sister.” Rather than correcting, you can model by saying, “Yes! She is your sister.”
  • Expansion: You can increase your child’s language by building on what she is talking about in everyday conversation. She may hand you a toy ball and say the word “ball.” You can respond back to her by saying, “You’re right. That is a big red ball with yellow stars on it.” You are modeling language development and giving her so many new words to try!

These are just a few simple ways you can support your child’s language development and encourage a love of literacy and words! Check back next week to learn more about literacy and the strategies our Parenting Educators use in the Parenting Program to bring literacy to you and your family.

Tags: language
Category: Parenting Topics