During the early years (0-5, children learn language naturally through their environment by participating in back and forth interactions with the adults in their lives. Here are ways to encourage language development:
- Spend time face-to-face: Sit with your child at their level when communicating with them. This encourages eye contact, developing an understanding of facial expressions, and aids in learning how to produce sounds.
- Simplify what you say: Keep sentences short. For example, instead of saying, “Let’s go outside and play in the pool because it’s a hot day,” you could say, “Let’ go swim. It’s hot!”.
- Emphasize key words when reading: To highlight the most important informant, use increased volume and intonation.
- Use repetition: Your child needs to hear new words many times and in a variety of contexts to fully grasp their meaning and how to use them.
- Let your child lead: The most meaningful learning happens in the moment when a child is truly interested and fully participating. Talk about what your child is doing in that moment.