The first few years of life are when children listen and learn the beginnings of language that will assist to set them up for life. Anyone who has tried to learn another language will understand how difficult it can be.
Children understand language well before they begin to speak. Infants begin with single words and then move on to form meaningful phrases. At a later age children combine verbal and written language.
You can enhance language development in your child from birth by using simple homemade resources, talking to your child and utilizing songs,games, and rhymes. Spend time talking to your child and explain to them what you and the child are doing. Some example may be:
"Mommy is cutting up the pumpkin for tea"
"I can see you rolling the green ball"
Glue photos or pictures onto to small cardboard squares, label the who or what is in each picture with the written word, place into snap lock bags, staple together to form a book making sure to cover stapled area well with thick tape. Babies will spend hours looking through the books. Spend time pointing out and labelling the pictures with your child. This activity is also valuable when using pictures of relatives and friends your young child does not see often as it gives them facial recognition so when they do spend time with these people their face is more familiar to your child thus making them less scary.
You could also make your own lift the flap books. Glue some pictures onto a piece of cardboard and cover with clear contact. Contact another sheet of cardboard. Write the word of the item on the front and carefully line up and use a blade to cut open 3 sections to make a door. Now glue the two pieces together. Young children love to lift the flaps and see what is hiding underneath. Make as many as you like to form a book.
Similar to books you can cut and glue photos and pictures onto sheets of cardboard, label with the written word, hang posters at child’s level on walls where they play. Hang a poster next to the change table. Talk about what you can see with your child.
Songs, Games and Rhymes
Search back to your own childhood to recall your favorite games and songs or here are some ideas to use:
Rhymes and Songs like :
- "Open, shut them" and "Head and Shoulders" help children to label parts and actions
- "This Little Piggy" and "Round and Round the Garden" delight small children and gives them prediction skills
- " 5 Cheeky Monkeys" and "5 Fat Sausages' offer counting and number awareness
"Wheels on the Bus" and "If You're Happy and You Know It" label actions
- Rhyming words hold children’s attention and allows them to recognize similar words. Play word games with words that rhyme. ‘Dog, log, bog, fog, jog.’
The most important thing to enhance infant language development is the modelling of language. The more they hear the more they will learn. So spend time talking, singing, and reading with your baby everyday. It is a fun way to spend time together that you can both enjoy plus you are enhancing their language at the same time!