The Power of Words
Language development begins at birth and continues throughout their growing life experiences. By age 3, differences in children’s understanding and use of language are enormous (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009; Stickland & Shanahan, 2004). Strong language and communication skills are essential for children’s continued success in school and life.
Family background and culture also effects how children learn language. Young children connect what they hear with their background knowledge and experiences. The more children understand about the world around them, the better able they are to make sense of what they hear. It is important to start talking to your child right from birth.
Way to Promote Language Development:
- Get down at your child’s eye level when talking to them.
- Use parentese with young infants. Singsong speech and exaggerated facial expressions encourage babies to listen and focus on what is said.
- Talk often with children, using rich language to describe objects, events and people in the environment.
- Walk over to the child instead of speaking from across the room. The child can attend more easily to what you are saying.
- Use language that is easy for your child to understand, explaining new vocabulary as you use it.
- Use gestures and concrete objects to clarify what you are saying to your child.
- Have one-on-one conversations with your child listening to and understanding what they are trying to communicate with you.
- Tell your child stories without using books.
- Repeat and reinforce new words.