Children’s Language Development is one of the essential skills that all children should start from an early age. Besides enabling them to communicate their thoughts and feelings, research from the Oxford Review of Education on youth showed that children’s early oral language skills are positively associated with their academic outcomes. This is because oral language competencies, such as phonology, vocabulary, syntax, non-literal language, and story-telling, help children build a solid foundation for reading comprehension and decoding.
That’s why guardians must be aware of the milestones in language acquisition to ensure that children develop their language skills appropriately. Maryville University’s article on language acquisition shared that by six to 11 months, children should be able to say words like mama or dada, even without understanding their meaning. Meanwhile, children between 18 to 23 months should be able to mimic animal sounds, speak short phrases, and use pronouns like mine. If children show difficulties reaching these milestones, it may lead to speech impediments that require professional intervention.
Fortunately, there are various ways to support a child’s language and speech development to enable them to reach these milestones easily. This includes role-playing, listening to music, playing board games, and reading educational books.
Role-playing is a fun and productive way to build a child’s language skills. Apart from promoting the use of their creativity and imagination, role-playing provides an opportunity for children to use and practice the words they learned from their guardians. It may also boost their social communication skills, especially if they’re playing with other children with whom they can interact.
To make role-playing more enriching, include as many related concepts and words as possible in the game. For example, if you’re pretending to be a teacher, introduce words like classrooms, students, blackboard, desk, and books, to help acquaint them with these words.
Listening to Music
Listening to music together also develops a child’s language abilities naturally. Because of the repetitive nature of some songs, it will be easier for children to recognize and memorize syllables and words, which enables them to expand their vocabulary.
An example of one of the best children’s songs you can sing and play for early language development is Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. This is because the popular song encourages children to imitate actions while learning about different body parts. Additionally, singing songs to babies is beneficial in early language development.
As per research by Aspasia Papadimitriou and colleagues on infant-directed signing, this activity facilitates phonetic perception and word learning among infants. This just shows how music helps children comprehend words and sounds.
Playing Board Games
If your children participate in family activities, playing age-appropriate board games can support their language development as well. Our article on ‘Family Games for Christmas and Thanksgiving’ shared that Spy Eagle Eye is a great activity that parents can play with their children. In this game, players must spot an object on their card that’s displayed on the board. Since children are required to match items, like letters, shapes, vehicles, and animals, this will enhance their ability to associate words with pictures.
So besides being an exciting game where family members can spend quality time together, it’s also an educational activity that can boost children’s communication, visual observation, and problem-solving skills.
Reading a Variety of Books
Reading books is one of the effective methods to improve language and comprehension skills. In fact, a study from the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics revealed that parents who read one picture book with their children daily provide their children with exposure to an estimated 78,000 words annually. This indicates how reading enables children to have an extensive vocabulary and even develop a passion for learning as they grow up.
To make reading more fun and exciting for children, make sure to have various educational books available. For instance, the Books For Kids listed on our website range from encyclopedias to picture books, which are perfect for children of all ages. Doing so ensures that children will always have something new to learn.
Guest post by J Benedict