Do you remember when you were so anxious to have your child start conversing? Now sometimes we wish they weren’t so efficient at this. One of the most important skills preschool children need is to continue developing language and thinking skills. It is very important for children to have adults “talk” with them daily. Some suggestions for assisting your child in learning new vocabulary, expressing their ideas and needs, as well as to help them have fun with language are listed in the following article.
A special program called “MAKE TIME TO TALK” gives some very practical ideas to try with your child.
M – Meal times can be good opportunity for individual and small group conversations with children. Even the very young child can benefit with your positive smile, describing the foods, colors and tastes.
A – Ask questions that encourage the child to think – questions involving analysis, prediction, imagining things that could happen.
K – Have eye contact with the child. This shows your child that you are giving them your undivided attention.
E – Extend your conversation with your child. Conversations should go back and forth with each person responding to the other speaker at least a few times.
T – Themes help children understand and remember the meanings of new words, especially when you build activities around the theme. (Baking cookies, ingredients, actions, tasting!)
I – Involve your child in conversations each and every day.
M – Make connections with books and recent activities to help build meaning.
E – Expand on the child’s language by repeating with descriptive words, using words correctly, and building on your child’s ideas.
T – Two way conversations mean that your child should be doing at least half of the talking.
O – Encourage one or more individual conversations each day. Bath time and bed time are really excellent opportunities to focus in on the child.
T – Children should have the opportunity to have available a variety of materials. Newspapers, magazines, books, signs along your way to and from school, electronic devices are just a few items that can encourage children to ask questions and discuss items as you go along your daily life routines.
A – Act out stories with children, reusing words from the book you read aloud with your child.
L – Language should include rich, varied vocabulary in talking with your child that will build on experiences.
K – Encourage your child by keeping conversation going through questions, comments and expanding vocabulary.
Taking time to encourage your child’s language development will definitely assist them in their academic achievement. This may sound easy for some who enjoy talking and may be more difficult for those who find conversing a challenge. In our busy lives we often forget that this time in your child’s life passes too quickly. Taking time to talk and listen will permit your child to use words to express their feelings and clue you in on their developmental milestones.