Language development and ability to talk is both a source of joy and worry for many parents.
In raising my own three children, I felt so lucky and gratified as all three started to say their first words around 9 months and by 18 months all three could express their thoughts, feelings and wants in 5 word sentences while still sitting at their high chair.
Many of the list of activities suggested bellow was the reason for my success.
Tips for supporting your child’s speech and language development
- Start talking to your child at birth. Even newborns benefit from hearing speech.
- Respond to your baby’s coos and babbling.
- Play simple games with your baby like peek-a-boo and patty-cake.
- Talk to your child a lot. Tell them what you are doing as you do it.
- Read books aloud. Ask a librarian for books appropriate to your child’s age. If your baby loses interest in the text, just talk about the pictures.
- Sing to your child and provide them with music. Learning new songs helps your child learn new words, and uses memory skills, listening skills, and expression of ideas with words.
- Use gestures along with words.
- Don’t try to force your child to speak.
- Expand on what your child says. (For example, if your child says, “Elmo,” you can say, “You want Elmo!”)
- Describe for your child what they are doing, feeling and hearing in the course of the day.
- Listen to your child. Look at them when they talk to you. Give them time to respond. (It feels like an eternity, but count to 5—or even 10—before filling the silence).
- Encourage storytelling and sharing information.
- Play with your child one-on-one, and talk about the toys and games you are playing.
- Plan family trips and outings. Your new experiences give you something interesting to talk about before, during, and after the outing.
- Look at family photos and talk about them.
- Ask your child lots of questions.
- Don’t criticize grammar mistakes. Instead, just model good grammar.
- Follow your child’s lead, so you are doing activities that hold their interest as you talk.
- Have your child play with kids whose language is a little better than theirs.
The following site is a good place to visit to get more information.
I find the list of suggestions quite helpful and beneficial.
Make sure you include prayers and meditation to your routine as a parent and teacher to open and clam your own mind and heart and remain connected with the source of all powers in the universe.
As to children ability to learn multiple languages, I strongly feel exposure to several languages by several family members is wonderful. My observation is when a parent or grandparent speaks only in a certain language with the child, the child ultimately learns to communicate in that language and the language of others who are around and lovingly and consistently communicate and relate to the child in that particular language.
I hope this is helpful.
Keyvan Geula is a licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist; LMFT. She received her Master of Science in Marriage, family, and Child Therapy from the University of La Verne, in La Verne, California. She employs the latest research in behavioral sciences, neuroscience, and the Baha’i principle of the oneness of all humanity to serve the well-being of her clients.
She offers her services as a clinician, lecturer, trainer, and supervisor to a global set of clients in person and online. In her clinical work, she incorporates the wisdom of the Baha’i Writings, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy research, Mindfulness meditation, and consultation skills, as well as knowledge of the spiritual self.
She is an adjunct professor of Behavioral Sciences at Citrus Community College, faculty of continued education at Claremont Graduate University. She teaches psychology online to students at Baha’i Institute of Higher Education.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of Center for Global Integrated Education (CGIE), a non-profit Baha’i-inspired educational organization, which explores oneness of all humanity, and teaches the integrated mind-body-spirit approach in education.
She has served for two years as the producer and host of a two-hour weekly live radio show for the Persian community in Sothern, California focusing on the role of the psychology of spirituality in personal and social transformation, creativity, emotional and social intelligence, and a greater sense of harmony in a global society. She also has been the host and producer of TV series called Transforming Human Consciousness for eight years. She regularly writes and blogs on www.cgie.org/blog on topics related to integrated education, the oneness of humanity, the powers of the human spirit in the betterment of global society, elimination of all prejudice, equality of women and men, and education reform. Some of her shows are posted on her; Keyvan Geula YouTube Channel.
Mrs. Geula has served in several Baha’i institutions since her youth in Iran and USA.