Everyday can be filled with teachable moments. It’s easy to forget that your child is always taking in information. During the first few years of your child’s life you should be looking for new ways for them to experience language and practice their developing sounds. Below are just a few ways you can expose your child and help them grow.
Playtime is a great way to teach your child. Children learn by seeing you in action. Jump in there and have some fun. You don’t have to take control, just follow your child’s lead. Remember they are watching everything you do and provide a good clear example. As you play you can in a way “talk your way through it” by saying what you do out loud. This is called "Self-Talk." For example, if you are walking a toy through a door you may use a dialogue such as, “Boy goes through the door” or “door open” and “door close”. If this feels difficult, keep practicing and you will get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect! Some things you can target during play include:
- Producing “p”, “b”, and “m” sounds
- Spatial concepts (in, out, over, top, under, next to)
- Follow directions
- Turn taking
Let’s go to the Park
Going to the park with your child can be a fun way to expose them to new vocabulary items. Though you may think they’ve been to the park many times and are familiar already, repetition is important. Exposure will provide them with a hands on experience that they can associate with new words. Be sure to use the words in your surroundings as much as possible when in different environments (e.g. bench, swing, slide, mulch, etc.).
You can visit a local library or other child development centers and have your child participate in story time. This is a wonderful way for your child to work on social skills while increasing their knowledge in expressive/receptive language. Providing this experience will help them learn from peers and understand how to create appropriate interactions. This is can also be a fun time for you to be around other parents and discuss other opportunities to help your child learn. This list is not inclusive don’t forget to be creative and have fun!
Gina McCurry M.S. CF-SLP