The first five years in our lives are the prime time for learning to talk. Most of a child’s language comes from the adults around them. The more time that is spent talking with our children, the more we enable them to develop the listening, concentration and talking skills they need. Toddlers often start off talking in their own little way and only you and those closest to them can understand them. (Personally I LOVE, TOTALLY AND UTTERLY ADORE IN FACT, THIS STAGE. We’ve been going through it with our youngest who is just 2 and a half. Ahhh, soooo cute and adorable ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ) Suddenly, they progress to saying the odd word clearly and it snowballs from there….
Reading to and with your child is a really useful, easy, enjoyable tool in helping your child’s vocabulary. At first children repeat words without really understanding their meaning. They are just making sounds, but this is good fun for them and helps the process of learning to talk. They are exercising their vocal cords and strengthening them all the time…. As your child grows, they will be understanding new words and phrases more. This will make reading more and more fun for all involved. Listening and talking go hand in hand – the more your child listens to you read and talk, the more they will try to reply and join in. It may also take longer to read each book, as you/they may want to go over your/their favourite bits again, or have another look if something is not fully understood.
Show your child that you enjoy reading too whether it be a book, a magazine or a newspaper – you are their role model and now is the time to help guide them to their full potential. It is good for children to see that book and reading are used on a daily basis and valued and appreciated in their home. Of course, there will always be some children who just don’t like books and reading naturally. It can’t be forced or they will lose interest even more. If this is the case, don’t push it. Our 2 and a half year old is currently NOT interested in being read to at all, compared to his almost 11 year old sister who could never get enough of being read to and is now a totally dedicated ‘bookworm’ 🙂 He does occasionally ask me to read to him and brings a book over (he has access to heaps of toddler friendly books, a lot of them I kept from his sister), but as soon as I start reading he asks me to stop within a few sentences lol.
Children build up their vocabulary over time and then start joining words up to make little phrases – before long you will be having a conversation. Well, a very ‘little’ conversation at the very least….