Children are aural language learners, meaning they learn entirely by hearing language. This makes the talking you do with your child very important! Talking to, and with, your child is one of the main ways to help them develop their language skills.
You don’t always need to be thinking about language development when talking with your child, but here are a few things you can make a habit of to help them learn:
- When you’re speaking with babies, using “parentese” — the sing-song slower speech that most adults use naturally with babies — helps them learn language faster.
- Babies watch our mouths to learn how to make sounds, and newborns are nearsighted, so make sure your baby can see you talking.
- Take turns having a conversation with your child – even if they’re only making sounds. This helps them learn how conversations work.
- Narrating what you are doing to your child during the day can help them learn new words, even if you’re just talking about the clothes they are wearing or the chores you are doing.
- Name things when you and your child are playing, or going for a walk, or visiting a new place. This helps to build their vocabulary.
- Telling your child about your day gives them an example of how to tell a story – and helps build their narrative skills.