Amongst learning to walk, socialize and express emotions, once a child hits two they tend to start to use verbal communication more often than gestures to express what they want, how they feel, etc. And as a parent, this is a prime time to take advantage of a child’s desire to communicate verbally. So here are some easy everyday ways to help your child develop their language skills!
Read to them everyday and encourage them to repeat words from the story after you!
Reading to children isn’t only good for entertainment and bedtime, it’s also the perfect time to engage them in verbal interactions with you. While they may not be able to read just yet, you can still read out parts of the story to them, point to an image, and encourage them to use the word to describe it. Or even ask how they feel about what is going on in the story to encourage back- and forth communication. And the great thing is an activity like this only takes a few minutes so parents can do it as often in the day as they like and their children’s language abilities will increase every time.
For everyday tasks, give children a choice and way to verbally engage with you.
Maybe on Monday’s you do laundry, or vacuum, or run errands. Try including the child verbally by giving them choices and engaging in verbal communication directly related to the task. For example, when folding laundry asking the child to pick out their items that they want to try to fold or put away. Or even telling them step by step how to do complete an action like folding clothes, and then asking them to repeat it back to you. This way, the child learns how to explain simple actions, and can connect those steps to simple verbal descriptions like, “You pick up shirt, put on lap, and put together.”
Encourage conversation when going out.
Whether it’s to the park or the beach, trips outside can feel much like an adventure to toddlers. So it’d be a great idea to take it as an opportunity to communicate with them by creating stories, and pretend scenes to not only let their imagination run wild but also help them put what they are imagining into words.
Do a scavenger hunt together with everyday items.
Scavenger hunts are not only fun, but easy to do no matter where you are. Give your child things to look for that you’ll easily find around the house, or the park. Then take pictures of those items and talk about what happened. This is an excellent way to teach children how to talk about things that have happened in the past.
Language development doesn’t have to be a difficult pr frustrating process for parents. With these tips, you can have fun and spend little pockets of time working on it with your child everyday. And it’s those small moments that have long-lasting benefits for children’s language development.