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Communicating With Young Children

Did you know?

  • Research shows that the more words a child hears before the age of 3, the better they will do in school, and the more successful they will be later in life.  

  • Children who hear 2 languages in this same time period will create more connections in the brain.   This, also, can help them succeed in school, so if you know 2 or more languages, use them!  

The more you talk to your child the better, even when they are an infant!  
Start by narrating your day.

"Let's open the door.” 
 "We're walking up the stairs now.” 
 “Mommy pours milk in her coffee.”
 “Daddy wipes your face."  

It may feel silly, but this early exposure to language helps your baby learn.  
Tell your baby stories about a trip you took, how you met your partner, things you like about your job, etc.  As your baby gets older, start to talk about what they are doing.  

 "Shake your rattle"     
 "Oh, you've picked up the green ball"
Tell your child what you are feeding them.

As they get older start to talk about more complex concepts like shapes and numbers.  

Count the steps as you go up and down, count their cheerios

Tell them about the round, yellow ball or the brown, square blocks.  
Talk about the way things smell.  
Explain that their teddy bear is bigger  than their rabbit
or that you are going higher as you walk up the hill.

This is your child's earliest introduction to math concepts.

It is never too early to start reading to your baby, but definitely start by 6 months. 
Bedtime is a great time to read a book, but whenever you can fit it in is fine.  Even if your baby doesn't sit for a whole book or they turn the pages before you finish them, that's ok.  They are still learning.  

As your child gets older, start to ask them what they think will  happen next in the book, or what is happening in the picture, or how the main character feels about something that has happened.

 This kind of interaction helps develop critical thinking skills.

As your baby starts to learn how to talk, they will babble or speak gibberish.
Respond to them as if they have just told you something very interesting.  Ask questions.

 This is how babies learn the give and take of conversation.  

As your child gets older, use scaffolding or expansion of language. 
Repeat what they have said and add on to it.

If your child says "ball", say "Yes, mommy threw the big, red ball".
If your child says “cup”, say "I see, you want your cup of water to drink".     
If they point to something they want, name and repeat the name of the item multiple times
as you hand it to them.  "I see you pointing to your shoe.  You want your shoe? Here is your shoe!"  

Eye contact and full attention are important communication tools.
Please turn the TV off and limit your phone use when spending time with your child.
Take turns with your child when talking.  Be patient, it may take a while for them to process and respond.  

Using more positive words than negative helps with self esteem and motivates children to learn.
Instead of always saying "no", try to redirect your child's attention by showing him an interesting toy or something else exciting in the environment.  

While discipline is essential, negative labels like "bad boy," or "she's a difficult child" or "he never listens," just end up creating self fulfilling prophecies.

 Give praise freely:
"Nice job stacking the blocks"
"Thank you for sitting so nicely" 
"I like the way you are sharing with your friend"


Praise your child for effort instead of for being smart or good.  
This helps teach children the importance of hard work.     

"You kept trying to fit those blocks together and you did it!"
"You worked so hard on building that tower, nice work!"
"You were feeling scared about talking to a new friend but you did it anyway. I'm so proud of you!"                       
 "Great job singing your ABC’s, you must have been practicing!"  


Dr. Lauren Morea, the mother of two young sons, says that most important thing parents can do is to spend some time every day giving their full attention to their child, and talking to them.  This helps children to learn, and is great bonding time.  Have fun and enjoy every second!

Posted: 2/7/2018 1:45:21 PM by Jenae Grader | with 0 comments
Tags: Infants, Language, Parenting, Preschoolers

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