Curious to see your child progress in the acquisition of linguistic skills?
What can you, as an adult parent or guardian do to nurture this flair for the language, both mother tongue and English?
Read on to feel good about everything already under your kitty as practice, while picking up a few new ideas after reading through this blog.
An infant right from its first moment out of the womb develops sensitivity towards every kind of sound around it. The loud noises, music, and all the pitter-patter gets registered in the child’s psyche.
Hence it makes sense to start early, by introducing the baby to concrete sounds and words through conscious observations and initiations.
Let us start with recommendations for 0-3-year-old toddlers:
- Lullaby-the age-old tradition seems the first magic potion for a baby to get attuned to words and music. Sing to the little one, even if you are a bathroom crooner/ songstress, don’t shy away from the effort.
- Talk to your baby and add gestures/noises to draw the baby’s attention. The lil one understands and is registering what is coming its way. Don’t take it lightly.
- Read as often and as frequently as you can. The child’s vocabulary finds its birthplace here. It calls for patience and enthusiasm to do this religiously. It is a myth that reading is best done at bedtime. Anytime is a good time.
- Use open-ended questions to evoke responses. This instills a keen interest to grope for answers rather than a mere yes and no.
- No need to correct or criticize. Instead, enjoy the blabber and record it for posterity. Have fun together.
- Draw your bundle of joy’s attention using objects and sounds be
cause auditory and visual impact remains for eternity.
“The best thing you can do is talk to your 1-year-old continuously throughout the day,” says Dr. Macias, a professor of Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Avoid plonking them in front of the television as it may cause greater impairment rather than empowerment. “Toddlers aren’t wired to learn from TV,” says Dr. Macias. “What they really listen to and respond to is real human voices and interaction.”
At three and above:
By the time the child is three years old, you will notice remarkable changes in speech and language skills. It will set the ball rolling for all aspects of communication from learning, writing, reading, and speaking to narrating stories, making friends, and responding to the surrounding with an intuitive curiosity. This is the juncture, where parents may have to bring out the magic garb of patience and the child within them to sustain and help build on this gradual evolution of the brain and its many developments.
At three, or sometimes even earlier, the child will get enrolled in school, where there are multiple channels for picking up words, building stories, adorable expressions, and hug-worthy anecdotes. Reading independently may be a practice that can be instilled at this point in their lives. There are plenty of children’s magazines and newspapers that cater to this need.
A few recommendations for parents to invest in the reading culture of their children, something as futuristic as Fixed Deposits and other Insurance policies.
Tinkle, Champak, Magic Pot, Magic Read & Color, Tell Me Why Magazine Chacha Chaudhary, Highlights Genies & Highlights Champs, Oyla Magazine – Best Youth Science Magazine in India, Junior Chandamama & Chandamama, Toot & Hoot, BBC Knowledge, Kids Explore, RobinAge & Jr. RobinAge, Gokulam, National Geographic Kids Magazine, Sanctuary Cubs and many international magazines too.
Beyond books and reading, involving your child in plenty of everyday routines enhances the spontaneity and descriptive abilities. Through social interactions, children acquire creative and problem-solving skills. It is immensely adorable to see them say their first lies, having picked it up from their peers while playing in the park or in the daycare. Do not panic or freak out about the morality of your child. Gently sit them down to distinguish a lie from the real and why it is important to speak the truth, even if it may entail adverse consequences.
A few TO Do for the parent of a young one:
Pay attention, rapt attention to every tiny word and expression that falls off your toddler. It validates them and nudges them to say and share more.
Ensure the same attention when you speak to them too. The subtle art of teaching the much lacking skill of Listening.
Introduce spatial relationships (right and left, first, middle, and last;) and opposites (up and down; on and off).
Help them form an idea based on categories. It brings clarity and a better understanding of living, non-living, big, and small, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc.
Make the children a part of daily activities. For example, while sorting the laundry, let them pair the socks, and name the different pieces of clothing. Repeat the same in the kitchen, garden, grocery store, and park. This a magical way to introduce them to new lingo and a practical one too.
New Horizon Vidya Mandir, one of the few exclusive nursery spaces in the IT corridor of Bangalore strives to make this acquisition of languages an organic process that is fun and effortless. The play-way Montessori method of teaching comes in handy to offer multiple strategies and ways to gently inculcate this mastery over vocabulary and language skills.
Would love to hear from you about your niche practices to help young children pick up language skills, without feeling it is a burden or an exhaustive exercise that tires one out.