5 ways to help children develop language skills

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(BPT) - When it comes to language development in young children, there is no substitute for genuine human interaction. Whether it occurs within the nurturing confines of home or at preschool, talking and engaging with children in conversation from infancy through school age plays a vital role in their linguistic growth and is an integral part in the curriculum at Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care.

Here are some easy yet effective ways Kiddie Academy recommends that parents can engage their child in conversation at any age:

1. Conversational Approach — Talking to infants and young children as if engaging in a conversation can have a profound impact on their language development. By pausing and allowing them time to respond, we encourage their active participation. For instance, noticing signs of fatigue, we might say, "I see you starting to yawn, are you tired? It looks like it might be time for you to take your nap." This conversational style not only helps children understand the rhythm and patterns of communication but also instills confidence in their ability to express themselves.

2. Descriptive Language — Taking the time to describe the world around children can greatly enhance their vocabulary and understanding. By pointing out specific details and using descriptive language, we expand their knowledge and help them foster a deeper connection with their environment. For example, we might say, "I notice you have your blue shoes with you today. Let's put them on before we go outside. Let's start with your right foot, then we will move to your left foot. These shoes are great for running." Such interactions promote language comprehension and allow children to associate words with concrete objects and experiences.

3. The Power of Reading — Regularly reading to children is an effective method for building vocabulary and improving language skills. By exposing young minds to a variety of words, sentence structures and storytelling techniques, we stimulate their imagination and expand their linguistic repertoire. Engaging children in discussions about the story or asking open-ended questions can further enhance their comprehension and critical-thinking abilities. Making reading a cherished activity from an early age sets the stage for a lifelong love of books and learning.

4. Discouraging Baby Talk — As children progress into preschool age, it is crucial to discourage baby talk and instead encourage the use of their "big kid voice." By consistently modeling proper language usage and reinforcing your children’s efforts to communicate effectively, we empower them to express themselves clearly and confidently. Praising their attempts to use more advanced language skills helps them understand the value of articulation and encourages further linguistic growth.

5. Embracing Multilingualism — Exposing children to more than one language from birth to 3 years old can provide numerous cognitive benefits. Contrary to popular belief, young children have an incredible capacity to learn multiple languages simultaneously. By immersing them in a bilingual or multilingual environment, we not only broaden their cultural horizons but also enhance their cognitive flexibility, problem-solving skills and overall linguistic competence.

Remember, every interaction is a chance to enhance a child's linguistic abilities and lay the foundation for a lifetime of effective communication.

For more information and advice, check out the article, Here's How to Master Parentese and Leave Baby Talk Behind at msn.com.