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Creative Ways Parents Can Increase Their Child's Language Skills At Home

Creative Ways Parents Can Increase Their Child's Language Skills At Home

As a parent, it can be hard to know how best to help your child develop their language skills. After all, there are so many activities that you could do with them!

However, research tells us that activities like playing games and reading together have the biggest impact on your child's developmentIncrease Your Child's Language Skills

Here are some activities for parents who want their kids to speak more:

Model for Them

The best way to increase a child's language skills is to model language.

When playing with your toddler, narrate their actions and be concise about it. For example, "look at the elephant! He's eating a peanut!"

If your child is taking an interest in reading activities, do not be afraid to read out loud with them.

When they are old enough to have conversations, ask open-ended questions like "What happened next?" and encourage their speech by replying with phrases such as: "That's a good idea!"

But that isn't all! 

You can also help your child increase their vocabulary by talking about objects in the room with them.

Give your child opportunities to solve problems, and use different words for the same object when possible. For example, "We need some more milk." "I want to drink this milk."

Children are not born understanding the finer points of language.

They learn this skill over time as they soak up the words and phrases you speak around them while modeling exactly what you want them to say.

If you want to increase your child's language skills, there are many activities that may help.

Starting with activities like playing games or reading together will provide the greatest benefit for their development.

These activities can also have long-term benefits!

When a child has more opportunities to talk and learn about new words as early as possible, they'll be more prepared to speak and read in playschool or kindergarten.

Put Technology Away

Spending two hours or more a day on screens can have negative effects on toddlers' cognition which may delay language acquisition.

Use technology as a tool for education, but in moderation. Spend time with your child each day using tangible toys and objects.

Be present when they are using technology by interacting with them, asking questions, and modeling language to help improve their language skills.

By spending more time engaging with your child, you are more likely to see an increase in their language skills.

Don't Make Everything Accessible

Your child's vocabulary begins to change as they enter the toddler stage. Many toddlers say less and do more, meaning that there are fewer verbal exchanges with their parents during the day.

Giving your child’s favorite toy a shelf out of reach or a cup without juice forces these moments of interaction that will make them feel heard and seen by you –  and help them develop their language.

Include Kids in Daily Routines

Language skills are a primary skill to be developed in children. Activities like cooking with them, folding laundry, and reading aloud can help tremendously.

If you provide some basic instructions to your child, they will be better equipped to help you with a task.

For example, asking them to put away their toys can give them an opportunity to practice following directions and speaking clearly while doing so

When children understand what is expected of them in different activities, they are more likely to speak up when there’s something on their minds.

Adding activities like setting the table, loading and unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry can give your children opportunities to practice following directions with you.

What activities can we do together?

How about you bring all the dishes to me, and I’ll put them away for you.

What would it be like if we set up the table before dinner? Let's try that tonight!

These are just examples of creating daily routines with your children, activities that will help them with their language development.

Give Them Open-Ended Toys

One question I am often asked is "What types of toys are appropriate for my child?" and my answer is open-ended toys.

Open-ended toys are ones that can be used in a variety of different ways across age ranges. For example, blocks can be used to build a tower or castle, as a telephone, or a car to drive.

Kids love activities that challenge them and open-ended toys allow for creativity in their activities.

Get Creative

As a parent, it can be hard to know how best to help your child develop their language skills. After all, there are so many activities that you could do with them!

However, research tells us that there are some activities that have the biggest impact on your child's language development: playing games and reading together while at home.

Sensory bins - Sensory bins are small containers, which hold a variety of items, that encourages both speech and language skills.

They provide ample inspiration for the mind while contributing to emotional regulation and fine motor skill development.

You should consider such options with items as varied as your child's favorite trucks and cars; water beads; Easter grass; or sand. Sensory bins are a great way for children to explore different textures, activities and sensations.

Arts and crafts - Arts and crafts activities with simple directions are great for increasing a child's speech and language skills. Pinterest, as well as other resources online, can provide ideas for such an activity!

How does art and craft help children?  

It's not often that parents think of activities such as arts and crafts when considering activities to help their children develop.

The reality is, however, that activities like this can be a great way for your child to explore new skills and ideas while also increasing language development!

They put an emphasis on the idea of creativity and imagination which are crucial to a child's language development at all ages.

What are the benefits of making arts and crafts?

Visual processing and memory

We have also found that arts and project-based projects, like painting or building a Lego house, help to strengthen their executive function skills.

Executive function skills are an important predictor of academic success, so activities like this can be a great way to give your child the mental tools they need for school.

Cooking togetherCooking with children is a favorite activity for many parents. It helps the child follow directions, request items, identify verbs and so much more! One attribute of cooking that may surprise you about the benefits it brings is its ability to help picky eaters.

When kids assist in meal creation by directing or even giving orders for ingredients used they feel ownership over their meal. They are also more likely to try new things if they're cooking with you!

Turn-taking gamesBoard games can actually be a great way to work on all sorts of skills, including patience and asking. A simple game like “Pop the Pig” can stand in for more complicated ones if you happen to have a younger child.

Physical games where players take turns such as ball catching, shooting hoops and chasey are a great way to increase language skills during play. Board games and card games also allow kids to practice taking turns and working through winning and losing to increase their patience.

Tub-timeA typical concern is often seen as just a hassle. But, parents can turn it into an opportunity to fake multiple language skills- like bringing toys in the bath and making soap bubbles or singing the child's favorite songs- during tub time.

Be “Forgetful”You can encourage language development by playing games with your child. For example, put their toys away and then act confused when they ask for them. This will encourage their use of words to express themselves.

Wrapping Up

In the end, it is up to us as parents and teachers to support our children in their language development. The more we know about how they learn, the better equipped we are to provide that support for them.

So what can you do at home?

One of the most important things you can do with your child is talk with them.

Use words before pictures when teaching vocabulary or concepts - this way they will be able to start making connections between spoken word and written symbols on paper sooner.

With the help of technology, you can do this from anywhere with a few clicks. But don't forget that in-person interactions are still important for building strong relationships with others.

As you can see, there are plenty of creative ways to help your child learn new words and increase their language skills.

Try some of these methods at home with your little ones.

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