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5 tips on how to encourage early language development

September 22nd, 2016 by Anna Michaelidou

Children start developing their language skills from a very early age and encouraging their language development is vital to building their confidence as well as broadening their vocabulary and learning to speak properly.

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By encouraging your child to develop their language skills from an early age you will ensure they enhance their social skills and set them on the right path for a better academic future. Here are five tips to encourage early language development with your child:

1. Allow your child the time to speak

As parents we spend a great amount of time trying to teach our children to listen. Try allowing your child to speak and describe things. It can be anything from simply telling you about their day in detail or asking them to tell you a story. Spend the time really listening to your child, showing interest and asking them questions. If a child feels that you are interested in what they have to say it will encourage them to want to describe more and build their vocabulary. Giving your child the time to speak will also build their self-esteem and conversational skills.

2. Read, read, then read some more!

Probably one of the more obvious things to do but reading with your child will not only build their vocabulary it will build their imaginations as well as allowing them to spend some quality time with you. Whilst reading spend some time asking them questions about how they feel or what they would change in a story. Have them describe the pictures they find in their books. And of course reading doesn't have to be limited to just story-books. Ask them to read signs whilst you are out and about or to read the ingredients in some of the objects you find in the supermarket. Read some fun comics together or find some easy recipes for them to follow.

3. Listen to and learn songs together

A really fun and interactive way of encourage your child's language skills is to listen to fun songs together. Try playing fun nursery rhymes such as "if you're happy and you know it" that you can both dance to and show the movements that go along with the song. Songs inspire children to learn the rhythm of language and explore words using actions whilst helping with speech and literary development.

4. Play games together

There are so many imaginative ways of encouraging your child to learn new words and playing some games together will make it fun. Almost any game you can think of can be turned into an entertaining language lesson. Try games such as 'Simon Says' or 'guess what's in the box' and make the games harder as their vocabulary expands. Some examples of other fun games are:

  • Treasure Hunt - a simple way of having your child follow directions to objects around the house.
  • Pretend Play - where dolls or figures can be used to create stories.
  • What's that taste? - where your child wears a blindfold and tastes different fruits and vegetables and has to identify them from the taste.
  • Memory Cards - where all cards are faced down and you need to find the pairs. Have children make their own cards and each time do different categories to stimulate their imaginations and build their vocabulary skills.

5. Provide experiences

Actions speak louder than words and one of the best ways to help your child build their vocabulary and learn to describe things using their imagination is to allow them to experience as much as possible. It is one thing to ask a child to describe the feeling of a rabbits fur and another to allow them to actually feel the rabbits fur and then describe what they are feeling. This applies to so many simple things in life such as what a flower smells like or how bitter an apple can taste. Take the time to allow your child to use their senses as often as possible and encourage them to learn new words to describe their feelings.

Talking to your child and allowing them to talk to you are the basics of good language development remembering always to make games and other activities age-appropriate. There are plenty of resources available to help your child develop their language skills and private tutors that can provide excellent support and understanding.

Post By: Anna Michaelidou

Anna has been a private tutor of both English Literature and English Language for fifteen years having taught all levels from nursery school right through to university level. She has a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature & Modern Languages, is a writer, content marketing executive and a busy mother of four lovely children.

Categories: advice, language tips