Remember: Children are ALWAYS Listening
Long before children are able to talk coherently, they have been listening to and absorbing EVERYTHING they hear. Often times we, especially the parents, aren’t even aware that a child is doing so. Once they start talking however this becomes apparent. We need to talk to our children with respect and with clear and precise vocabulary, paying particular attention to the pronunciation of words, not swallowing or missing out letters. If you want your child to be well spoken then you must set a good example and talk with your child exactly as you want to be spoken to and exactly as you would like them to speak! (The same applies to behaviour as well. Behaviour breeds behaviour! If you are positive, the child will be. If you are negative, likewise the child will be!). AND this must be done earlier than perhaps previously considered necessary. Babies, even before birth, can hear what is going on in the outside world and this adds to their language skills. This continues to play an important role in the child’s experience in the first months and years ahead. At this age children show an unearthly ability to absorb language in all its complexities, and not just one language! A child is greatly helped in the development of good language skills by being included in our conversation from the very beginning. We must listen and speak respectfully with our children from birth on. The way we talk with one another is also important. We need to set good examples. A child’s spoken language is the foundation for their later ability in reading and writing.
It is no coincidence that some children are good at reading and writing and others are not, (unless of course they are dyslexic or have some other learning inability), that some find joy in doing so and others don’t. The pleasure and fun of exploring language begins early, and is the most intense, in the first three years of life.
The attention we give a child when he first begins to talk to us is important. Children may becomes so excited about their ability to talk and being able to express themselves that they stutter. This is a very natural stage when learning to talk. It is signal for the adult to stop, listen and look the child in they eyes. Missing words should NOT be supplied. The stutter should NOT be commented on. A child that feels listened to in a respectful manner generally calms down and develops the ability to speak more clearly..
To be successful in language a child needs confidence that what they have to say is important, a desire to relate to others, real experience on which language is based, and the physical abilities necessary in reading and writing.
A child’s language development will be aided and enriched by providing a stimulating environment, with abundant sensory experiences and in language, providing a wealth of experience, because language is meaningless if it is not based on experience.
Experiencing real objects should come before pictures or names of these objects whenever possible. E.g. if you have a new book with pictures of fruits and vegetables, let the child handle, smell, cut up, and taste a piece of fruit. Then go and look at a picture of it, and other fruits, in the book. The intelligence is then founded on first hand experience.
Children want to learn the name of every object in their environments, and the meanings of the words that are heard. Children are so eager to be able to communicate about daily life with their family and others they know! Name everything in sight, whether in the home or out of the home, to your child, point, clearly pronounce the words of kitchen objects, toys, food, vehicles, trees, ants, butterflies, flowers, clouds, airplanes, glasses, cups, cutlery, crockery, electrical items, cats, horses other animals, cushions, blankets, pillows, pictures, jewelry items, clothing items, dogs, etc…