Three key areas are:
- Providing opportunities for hands-on exploration.
- Allowing children to find the solutions.
- Helping children find solutions to real-life problems.
Language not only refers to the spoken word but it’s also about gestures, sounds, noises, and facial expressions. An infant will cry to express how it feels. However, during the very early month’s an infant becomes interested in toys and observing others around them, then from 6-12 months infants listen to sounds and interpret them in their own way.
During the first year of life the infant will eventually learn to wave, listen intently and laugh or squeals with delight. It will look at the speaker in conversation and know its own name. Infants begin to pay attention to others and become interested in what’s happening around them. This is a great sign that all’s well and the infant is progressing all language development. Gradually as the infant enters the toddler phase he/she is generally very chatty and interested in everything and more!
Early learning is exciting and great milestones are achieved such as when the infant utters simple words such a ‘Mom or Dad’. Daily routines can be frustrating as toddlers are very challenging, however, always try to offer them every opportunity to explore and keep all materials and ideas fresh, and get them asking questions too. Ask them open ended questions ie: ‘What would you do with that?’ Put toys out of reach of toddlers and see how they problem solve in reaching the toy.
Allow children opportunities to find solutions and offer them help in finding out how their worlds work. Let your child take the lead as this builds self-confidence.
Get stuck in a book
This is a great way to focus on pictures and language. Kids will learn lots of skills by looking at books and commenting on the pictures. They’ll ask questions, and chat away about the story. It’s a fun activity, and books play a huge part in developing early speech and literacy skills. If you read a series of books or a favourite one, the child will quickly learn what happens next and in time be able to remember the full story. And remember a made up story from any picture in a book is even more fun. Also check out – best educational toys for 2 year olds.
Every child loves to sing. They will sing along to any music they hear and even dance away, and nursery rhymes are some of the best songs. Act out as many as you can putting in expressions, as the child will love them and remember them. Ask them to name the characters and go on to make up new stories about them after the rhyme has been sung, eg: Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill, so ask if they played games after they fell down, and if so, which games? Get your child thinking and expressing thoughts.
Always talk to children about things in general, as the interaction between a child and adults influences how the child develops and grows. This is vital for all communication and children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to enjoy the early years at school as they’ve already enjoyed a good foundation in their language activities and skills.
General exploration in daily life
Always chat about objects, emotions and any events. Share information and never feel that you are too ahead on teaching anything as the child will be processing information which will enhance their language and communication skills.
Whether it’s a trip to the park, meal time, bedtime or bath times, talk to children sensibly and play games, to make it fun eg: I –spy, but keep it simple. Use lots of vocabulary and name everyday objects such as sink, soap, bubbles, towel etc. You’ll be amazed at how much the child absorbs and how quickly the information is retained.