Encouraging language development in children
The first step is to make time for the child in your busy schedule. Rework your life to give priority to the child. Spend quality time and read as well as sing songs to your child every day. You could play soft music and other tapes like chants and so on in their room at specific times each day. Music enhances memory and learning.
Speak to the child and give them time to respond. Make everyday activities a learning time—introduce names of foods, point to the bathtub and say bath, show the child the sponge or soap, help the child recognize the animals and toys in the tub by introducing things like “ baby duck—quack, quack.”
Children listen, they learn how to discriminate specific sounds, and then they associate the sound with actions, and finally put together sounds with what they actually mean.
Be vigilant at all times. If you have any doubts or notice any problems, please consult a doctor.
Play “follow the leader.”
Well, have you thought of things you can do to encourage speech and language development? Well, you don’t need specialized training or courses to do this. Think about it—you smile, and the baby smiles at you. So, if you play “follow the leader” your baby will mimic whatever you do and unconsciously learn.
So, you must make faces at sounds like ma, da, ba, and so on at the baby. Strike a conversation with the baby while feeding, bathing, or bonding with the baby. Tell the baby what is happening and all about other family members and pets. Help the child recognize objects and colors by saying things like, “Ah, a bouncy red ball, or a cuddly brown bear.” Don’t just use single words, say, “Mama loves baby.”
Interactive Learning Tools
Innovations in learning have been in existence since time immemorial. Early humans used the walls of the caves to express themselves and teach young ones. With time, humans used beads, terracotta plaques, and Abacus counters to teach. Colorful blocks and cards were used in memory games to sharpen retentive skills as well as recognition in children.
With the many innovations in technology and the fast pace life is taking, age-old methods of crooning songs while sitting with the child on a rocking chair, or spending hours just conversing with a child are fast changing. What is popular is fun, interactive teaching materials, CDs and DVDs. These are specially designed by language experts to enrich a child’s vocabulary of words while simultaneously placing them in the appropriate context. The CDs and DVDs are more than interesting, they stimulate natural language and promote learning through play.
Stay One Step Ahead
You will benefit if you make an effort to find out all you can learn about language development. There are self-help books as well as web sites and articles written by experts.
It is important to understand that the learning curve for every child is unique. Some talk early while others do so a little later, but most do catch up. So, don’t be anxious and try to push the child. If in doubt, ask the doctor. Plan to spend quality time with the child, listen to the child’s moods and choices. Introduce laughter and joy by singing action songs, making funny faces, and playing “pat-a-cake.”