Life always makes us learn. Every day, children learn new things and grow by exploring, looking and, mostly, by acting like people they know. We help him to walk on all fours, we give him our hands to show him how to walk, and we teach him how to go down the stairs on his bottom by sitting in the stairs. We have the capacity to adapt to our child’s development by observing our own actions and by simplifying our message. We constantly give him an example that we invite him to follow. The same goes with your child’s language! He learns from his experiences with other people.
Naturally, when a child is only a few weeks old, we tend to look a lot at his language. We get close to him, we look at him, we make sounds to draw his attention, we modulate our voice, and we call his name… We clap our hands, we make simple syllabic repetitions like “gagaga” “papa”, and we use an appropriate language for a baby. It is possible and even essential to continue this stimulation as the child grows but without making it a heavy and strenuous task.
Repetition is essential in the development of language. By hearing a significant someone repeating the same sounds, the same words and the same sentences over and over and always in the same context, children eventually manage to repeat them.
In what follows, I will try to make your life easier by giving you simple tips and tricks that will stimulate the development of the language of children on a daily basis, through things you can add to your routine, so it doesn’t seem like an additional chore.
I am sure that you will realize, reading this article, that you already do many things, without knowing, that are excellent ways to boost your child’s language. However, you may realize that in the midst of our busy life, we don’t leave much time for our children to speak.
Here are some attitudes and strategies that can help promote communication and to which you should pay attention on a daily basis.
First, get down on your child’s level.
Lean towards him, sit him on the counter or on cushions, sit next to him on the floor or on the couch. It is much nicer to talk to someone when you can see his face. By speaking to your child at eye level, he will be in a better position to look up to you as a model because he will be able to look at your mouth and see how you place it to pronounce the sounds. That way, you will keep him focused and expect him to look at you. He will feel important because you talk to him, personally and because you pay attention to what he says.
Adjust your language.
Speak slowly, clearly. Use short and simple sentences without using baby talk. If I ask a three-year-old child: “Would you like to eat a good red apple that we picked yesterday?” I am not at his level. In general, it is recommended to keep your language simple yet slightly more complicated than what the child is normally capable of. For example, if the child usually expresses something with two words “Want juice!” you can say: “You want juice?” Feel free to change the tone of your voice.
This also applies to the overly fast or complicated requests that we make. Remember that it is very important to respect the child’s level and his development stage. For example, the sentence: “Come change your diaper my darling, we are going to your grandma’s house for dinner” would be far too complex for a three year old child. It contains too many elements.