Learning to talk is a process that starts as soon as your baby is born! By two years old, most toddlers are able to put together short phrases and express their needs and ideas. So what can you do to support good language learning along the way?
- Talk as much as possible! The more your baby is exposed to language, the better.
- Narrate daily activities. For example, “Now it’s time for a bath. Can you feel the warm water on your tummy? After we dry off, we’ll get dressed and get ready for bed!”
- Read to your child. It’s never too early! Start with simple board books and work your way up. Feel free to go “off-script”: don’t just read the text in the books; ask questions (“Do you see the birds in the sky?”), point things out (“Look at those shiny red boots!”), and be as interactive as possible.
- Tell stories and follow your child’s lead. Encourage their interests and ask questions about their favorite stories.
- Be careful with screen time. Television and computers should be used sparingly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO screen time before 2 years old.
The key is exposure and interaction. Studies have shown that the more words children hear in their formative years, the greater their language success will be. And while some educational media may be beneficial in certain cases, TV shows and videos don’t interact or respond to your child. Even iPad apps, which can be interactive, aren’t responsive to a child’s ideas. There’s no substitute for interaction with real live human beings!
picture: credit to Tim Pierce https://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/2100913578/