MARCH / APRIL 2018
Five Tips for Developing Language in Infants and Toddlers
Language skills are strengthened through interactions. Reading together (yes, even if it is that same favorite book read over and over again), looking at pictures, and just hearing your voice as you talk to them and others are all ways to strengthen the language skills of your infant or toddler.

Check out these five tips to get the conversation going and your child's language growing.
Take Five_1
Use gestures along with words.  When you are reading to your child, point at the words and pictures as you say the word. Doing gestures, like touching your lips when it's time to eat, provides visual cues that your child can imitate and use to tell you when they are hungry.
 

Take Five_2
Chat it up.  Talk about what you are doing and seeing as you go through the day -  "Now that your favorite blanket is clean we need to put it in the dryer so it will be nice and warm for nap time." These chats help your child recognize that actions and emotions have words that describe them . Don't wait until your child is a toddler, chat it up with your infant too.
 

Take Five_3
Sing and make up songs.  Songs make it easier for children to learn things like their ABCs. You can make up songs to help your child learn other things as well, such as colors  - "Gonna put on my blue shirt,  blue shirt, blue shirt and sing my silly song." The lyrics and tune aren't important. Let your imagination lead you and your child to sing and learn. 
Take Five_4
Create books about your child and their favorite things. Glue pictures printed from your camera or cut from magazines on to sheets of paper to create a storybook. Look through the pages with your child and talk about what you see - "the silly monkey is wearing a blue hat."  Family photos are another great way to help them learn about people -  "Here you are at Grandma's house. She is giving you a BIG hug!"
Take Five_5
Visit the library. Check the event calendar at your local library for story times and special events that your child might enjoy. Even a child who is very young and not yet talking will pick up language skills by exploring the variety of books a library has to offer. As they get older, encourage them to choose their own books to check out and take home.
Q.  My child is still young and all she does is chew on the books. Is she even learning anything ?
 
A. Yes! Make sure you have age appropriate books that your child can use on her own. There are sturdy board books and even some "indestructible books" with tear-proof pages that can be chewed on and washed! 
You can also sit and read together. Let her turn the pages. Point out words and pictures while you read. Use an expressive voice to make the book come to life. Reading and looking at books together is a literacy foundation that can begin when a child is very young. Story time is also a great bonding time for you and your child .

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PSstaff@ndchildcare.org or call 800-997-8515

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