9 Easy Ways to Build Your Child's Language Skills
Communication blossoms when you and your child do things with each other.
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Listening and Speaking
When you play and work together, you have something in common to talk about. Try these language-rich activities:
Bake together. Share the experience of measuring the ingredients, sifting and mixing, and then cleaning up. It's also a great opportunity to introduce related vocabulary: tablespoon, half a cup, stirring, mixing, liquid, solid, dissolve, rise, bake.
Take photos of yourself and your child engaged in different activities. Share the pictures and talk about them so she learns that you can communicate about things that happened in the past.
Share stories about when your child was a baby, when he said his first words, the food he liked best, and other fun things he did when he was little. Encourage your child to share his ideas of the same events.
Tell stories about your own childhood. Show pictures of yourself at your child's age, and talk about the stories you loved, the games you played, what you liked, and what you were afraid of.
Respond to your child's emotions. When you greet her after school, you might say, "You have a happy smile on your face. Why?" Or, "You're frowning. What was sad about your day?"
Give your child verbal labels for his feelings: "You must be angry, angry, angry!" "Your happiness shows on your face." "I see that you are frustrated. Let me help."
Play language games, such as I Spy, or other games that involve communication, such as Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says.
Read every day. As you read, ask your child to tell you which character she likes best and why, how she would feel if she were one of the characters, what she would do to solve the problem, and how the story makes her feel.
- Share poetry, songs, and chants. Ask your child's teacher for copies of poems and songs he has learned and enjoys, or share your own favorites.
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