Talk, and then talk some more.
The more you talk, the more kids learn. Babies and young children learn to speak by listening to you, so start talking to them the day they are born. Fortunately, life offers plenty of opportunities to connect and engage in rich conversation.
When children talk, even if it’s silly or hard to understand, use it as a chance to add information, to encourage more talking, or to elaborate on what they said: “You’re talking about the little bird? Look at his pointy beak. What color is his beak? He can fly high in the air.”
Make the most of everyday events.
Use everyday events like bathing, getting dressed, going for a walk, grocery shopping or making dinner as a chance to talk with your child. Talk enough to keep him cooperative and engaged. Describe what you are doing and ask questions. Use short sentences and lots of different words.
Learning language is hard, but you can help. Be kind and patient. Even when your child says something silly or hard to understand, don’t criticize her, make fun of her, or try to correct her. If she says something wrong, gently say the word correctly and see if she can repeat it. In time, she’ll figure it out.
When you’re trying to teach a skill like picking up toys or using a spoon, choices are important. Remember to offer real choices: “Do you want to eat your peas or your rice first? Do you want the blue or the green cup?”
Sing, tell stories and read.
Include your child in conversations, read books together and have fun with songs and rhymes. Kids learn at their own pace, but the more words they hear, the better.