4 Ways to Boost Your Toddler's Language Skills
It’s never too early to foster your child’s language development. Research has found that 80 percent of brain development takes place during the first 36 months of a child’s life. Reading, singing, and talking to your little one are all simple ways to encourage his or her language skills.
Language and communication skills include both receptive language (the ability to understand others) and expressive language (the ability to express oneself using words, gestures, or facial expressions). Children who develop strong language and communication skills are less likely to have difficulties learning to read and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.
Here are four ways you can help your toddler achieve key language development milestones:
1. Get Chatty
Whenever you talk, your baby soaks up the sounds, tones, and language he or she will use to say their first words. Foster your baby’s language development by continually engaging in conversation by narrating your day or telling stories. Talking to your baby stimulates the part of his or her brain that handles language. The more words your child hears, the stronger his or her language skills become.
2. Read, Read, Read
Research has found reading to a child out loud to be the best mechanism for expanding their vocabulary. A picture book is two to three times more likely than parent-child conversation to include a word that isn’t among the 5,000 most common English words. Allowing your child to pick the books he or she is interested in, and encouraging him or her to turn the pages while you read together, will keep him or her active and engaged in learning.
3. Make Music
You’ve likely already experienced the soothing effects music can have on a baby by lulling him or her off to dreamland. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Whether it’s “I’m a Little Teapot” or “The Wheels on the Bus,” singing together with your toddler is a fun way to encourage strong language skills.
4. Sign it
According to the National Institute of Health, teaching your baby sign language can lead to improved cognitive and emotional development. Babies can learn to use sign language before they are able to talk, starting as early as six months, although their hand control may not be strong enough until closer to nine months. Teaching your toddler sign language can foster his or her language development while helping you two bond.
Although early language acquisition is instinctive for most children and tends to happen naturally, we as parents can have a significant impact on their language skills. Simple, everyday activities can help to accelerate a child’s language development--and they can be fun! Through watching what your child is interested in and observing then listening to how he or she communicates, you can help bring him or her to the next level of language development.
MORE FROM THE PLAY YARD