We are all busy. There is loads going on and loads to do, especially with children around as well! Developing your child’s language does not have to involve finding time within the routine and sitting down at a table to ‘work’ on it.
The best way of developing your children’s communication skills is to talk to them! This does not have to be special or fancy. Talk about your day, talk about what you are doing, talk about what they are doing. There are so many opportunities for language within your day and often they get missed.
Here are some of my favourites:
- Getting dressed – good for choice-making, labelling clothes, labelling colours, describing the weather (eg, ‘it is cold today, so you need a jumper’).
- Cooking/baking – good for sequencing, colours, labelling food, size, number.
- Going to the shops – good for labelling food (and anything else in the shop), size, colour, number.
- Going to the park – good for labelling outdoor vocabulary, verbs (doing words), transport.
- Travel – describe what you can see when you are travelling somewhere. Talk about what other people could be doing or where they could be going – make up a story!
- Bath time – good for verbs (doing words) and adjectives (describing words).
- Meal times – a good chance to discuss your day. Ask everyone in the family, not just the children. A lovely chance to model sentences and emotions.
- Play time – good for imagination and pretend play. Follow the child’s lead, put on silly voices and act out scenarios.
- Story time – read the story and put on different voices and do actions (if appropriate). Sometimes, just look at the pictures and describe it – you don’t always have to read the story word-for-word.
Think about your routine – what opportunities are there for talking within your normal day? Think about different words that you could use within these activities – think about nouns (names of things), verbs (doing words) and adjectives (describing words).
For example, at bath time:
- Nouns: bath, towel, water, tap, boat, duck.
- Verbs: run (the tap), splash, pop (bubbles), pour, wash, dry
- Adjectives: wet, big/little (toys), colours of toys, clean, dirty
Try to get as much talking into your day as possible. Remember to listen to what your child is saying as well and be fully engaged in the conversation.
Children love repetition – even if you think you’ve done/said this before, your children will love it! The more children hear language, the more they will understand and the more they will use it!