As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. And whilst school might seem like a long way off for a two-year-old, it’s never too early for you to start preparing them. But don’t worry, building language skills doesn’t mean drilling them with spelling tests or pushing them to read beyond their ability. It’s actually a lot more fun and interesting.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at three things you can do to help boost your toddler’s language skills.
1) Encourage Them To Explore The World
In a toddler’s eyes, almost everything is new and exciting and one of the best ways to help them build language skills is by encouraging them to explore the things around them. Take them to the park or on a field trip to the zoo and encourage them to explore and learn about new things. Make sure you narrate the day as it progresses and give them plenty of opportunities to hear new words as well as complete sentences.
Naturally, your child won’t be able to turn around straight away and perfectly articulate the scene around them, but by showing them new things and getting them excited about animals, places, people, colours and all sorts of other things, you are building the foundations they need. So even if they aren’t repeating any of these words back to you just yet, just keep exploring and talking… it will all come together eventually.
2) Enjoy Some Music Together
Whether it’s playing some kids songs at home or exploring more structured music therapy for children, listening to music can have all sorts of benefits for your child. From improving health & wellbeing and cognitive awareness to increasing social skills and providing opportunities for self-expression, the benefits are endless. Not least of these is the improvement of language skills. Unlike some other activities, music is processed using both sides of the brain. So when a child is engaged in musical activities, the brain is using more neurons which enhances their ability to develop and learn new skills.
Remember you don’t have to play them a bunch of Vivaldi and Mozart to get results (unless that’s your thing of course). A nice mix of kids songs, action songs and some of your favourite tunes will get the job done.
3) Learn A Foreign Language
Many people assume that teaching children two or more languages at a young age will slow down their language learning. But in actual fact, the opposite is true. Learning a second language at a young age helps to lay the foundations for academic learning way beyond the early years. In fact, a lot of research confirms that learning a foreign language at a young age can help to stimulate a child’s mind and improve language learning in the long term. As an added bonus, it gives them a more positive attitude and an open mind about embracing other cultures which can have a lifelong positive impact.
Language learning is key to your child’s cognitive and academic development and providing your child with the right foundations for this from a young age is key. But don’t worry too much about having a structured program in place. By spending time with your child, doing fun activities and narrating as you go, you’ll find that your child actually picks up a whole load of information as they go. Toddlers are like information sponges. Even if you can’t see any immediate progress, you can rest assured that they are absorbing all the information and will most likely use it at a later date. So rather than stress about formally teaching them language skills, relax and enjoy some quality time with them with some music and exploration..everything else will fall into place.