Language Development in Early Childhood: What are the Best Ways to Nurture it?
It is necessary to nurture language development in early childhood. It inculcates language skills to infants and toddlers so that they will not have difficulty to communicate.
Language is a way to express our thoughts and ideas to others. It is something that is very important in one’s life. To know how to use and understand language as well as enjoy it is the basic step to literacy, it is also the basis for learning how to read and write.
We all know for a fact that language development in early childhood starts at home. The way we communicate with others and the way of how we talk, all these are products of what we have learned at home. According to http://raisingchildren.net.au learning a language is a lifelong process. However, the foundations start at the first year of life. Therefore it is very important to develop the communication skills during the first 12 months. It is during this phase that language and speech development is crucial.
What are the ways to nurture language development in early childhood – for Infants?
1. Infants are very vulnerable.
They cannot speak and they cannot express themselves well. As parents, we have a bigger role to play in language development in early childhood. We can start the communication process with our children by body language. The first step towards developing language is to learn that body language has meanings. As parents, instinct would tell us that when a baby cries, he is uncomfortable. It is either he is In pain, in hunger or probably he is wet. Our parental gesture is to respond to their needs. We try to make them feel comfortable by cradling them, changing their diapers or feeding them.
2. When they reach the age of 3 months or more, communication becomes easier for the parents and their offspring.
At this age, they can understand each other better. Parents can already decipher what their children needs and language development in early childhood can move to a higher level. Now that the child can already see clearly, parents can communicate better by their actions. For instance, when the child cries because of hunger, the parent can now talk to their child by saying “hang on a second while I get your milk “ saying this while pointing to the milk area or by holding a bottle of milk at hand would give the child an understanding that they can use body language aside from crying. Not only that, the word the parent has spoken (milk) would remain in the child’s memory bank and add to his vocabulary.
3. So your child is now sucking on the milk you’ve given, continue with the language development in early childhood by constantly talking to your child.
By stroking their hair and giving your child reassuring words while feeding, like “don’t worry, mama is here to feed you when you’re hungry “ “I’ve got the cutest baby in the world “ it makes them feel more secure. They would understand that stroking means “I care “ and kissing the cheek would mean I love you. Gesture and words matter so much in this phase. We have to give extra care to only give them words of encouragement. Our actions would speak our emotions clearly. So your child will easily know when you feel irritated with them through your actions. Negative actions may hinder the language development in early childhood.
4. Respond when your child coos and mumbles.
It is their way of talking to you. Responding to them would give them the idea that they are on the right track and that when they say something they get a reply in return. This is another step to take when nurturing the language development in early childhood.
Although this is a happy thought for both the parent and the child, parents should always remember not to baby talk. Respond to them in a natural way. For instance, if your baby is looking at a flower and coos to you, then, make sure to say, “yes, you are looking at a flower! “ do not coo as the baby has cooed. Baby talking affects a child communication skill and also it may affect the vocabulary of your child. For instance, when you baby talk to your child saying “go papa where? “ it is grammatically incorrect and since your child’s brain is like a sponge, he would absorb the wrong sentence and it becomes difficult to correct and he will be used to saying that a lifetime. Never ‘baby talk’ your child.
5. Allow your child to listen to nursery rhymes and songs.
Make it a habit to show them some educational videos introducing colors, shapes, numbers, and alphabets. This will register in their memory banks despite the fact that they cannot speak yet. Although according to http://www.parents.com it is not advisable to let your child watch television at an early age, we believe that with parents supervision and a lot of explanation coming from the parent, it is a helpful tool in the language development of the child. During the ages 0-12 months, memory retention is not a problem. Therefore, your child will best absorb all the words and rhymes during this age. Make the video watching very short.
6. Start bedtime stories with your kids while they are this age.
They may not understand what you are reading to them yet, but it would develop for them the knowledge that books are important and it’s part of their life. They would benefit from this in the long run. Through reading, they learn new words and learn some values that they can apply in life. Reading is important to the language development of your child.
What are the best ways to nurture language development in early childhood – for toddlers?
1. When your child has advanced to toddler now, he is ready to sing and chant nursery rhymes with you.
Make sure that you make him pronounce the words clearly. The clearer the pronunciation the better his speech will become. We have to correct all mispronounced words while young. The older they become the harder it will be for them to correct any speech deficiency. This is something important to consider when nurturing the language development in early childhood – for toddlers.
2. Develop the act of telling stories.
Telling stories not only broadens perspectives, it improves communication skills. When a child tells a lot of stories, their language development becomes faster. As their imagination broadens, their vocabulary banks also increase. This is one way that we can enhance their ability to communicate with others. So never get tired of listening to your kids as they talk to you. We may sometimes feel that our kids blubber a lot. This is but natural. Encourage it as it will develop them into better a conversant.
3. Build their vocabulary by letting them read lots and lots of books.
If your child develops the love for reading, it follows that his point of view has broadened and his scope of understanding about life becomes wider. This will benefit the language development in early childhood because a child can easily interact with other people about any topic. He becomes smarter and his level of confidence is higher.
4. Have a conversation with your kid every day.
Ask how he feels about something or how his day was. Ask about his everyday life. This will make your child speak more. The more a child talks when young the more they enhance their speaking skills. This is beneficial to the language development in early childhood. It is easier for those kids who are more talkative to have great speaking abilities. It shows that the most to take part in school recitations are those kids who are chatty at home.
5. Make learning and conversation fun for your kids.
For the language development of a toddler, making initiating fun conversation can get him into the act of involvement. The kid will want to take part more in the kind of conversation if he is interested in it. Usually, they love it when the conversation leads to praising them than giving them commands. So when talking to the little ones, instead of asking questions like “what is the shape of your cookie? “ it would be better when you say something like “look, when you bit your cookie, it shaped to the letter /L/ “ I wonder if I can shape my cookie with the letter /c/. It might be a bit of a workload for you but it would be fun for the little one.
6. Not all kids want their learning fast.
There are kids who want to learn at their own pacing. Don’t get disappointed, give them time to learn and explore. The moment you force your kid to do something he is not yet ready to do, you might affect the language development in early childhood. Of course, there are certain ways that you could make your child have his language development without him knowing you are into it. Be creative enough to drive them to learn something the unconventional way. This way, you will not bore your child and at the same time, you get what you need.