One of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing your little one grow and develop right before your eyes. It can be a bittersweet feeling, seeing your sweet precious baby outgrow their toddler clothes. But nonetheless, the process is crucial to their development. And while almost every little thing you do with them helps, there are many things they will learn from you naturally. We all want the best for our little babies. And a crucial skill our babies need in their life is communication!
Montessori School of Downtown has compiled a list of important activities to encourage language development in toddlers!
Converse With Your Baby
Babies communicate from birth, through sounds (crying, cooing, squealing), facial expressions (eye contact, smiling, grimacing) and gestures/body movements (moving legs in excitement or distress, and later, gestures like pointing.)
So make sure to engage with him any time you can. It is important to talk to your baby! Let him see your face when you are talking to him. Gaze into their eyes and talk to them whenever you change their diaper or feed them, whenever you take him shopping or out for a walk in the neighborhood. Talk to them just like you would talk to a friend, telling them about your plans, showing them something in a store window, and asking them questions. They will learn about the inflections and intonations of conversation and will eventually respond to you in a similar fashion!
Sing To Your Baby
Did you know that singing with your child is a wonderful form of emotional communication? When you sing to your baby they will feel a strong connection with you and a sense of comfort. At birth, your baby instantly recognizes the voice of its mother. The voice of parents and loved ones continue to be really important to the baby especially in the first few months when their vision is poor. They feel comforted by hearing that you are nearby. The calming effect of singing on new babies is so strong that singing is known to improve the heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep, feeding patterns, and weight gain premature babies in the neonatal intensive care wards.
Read To Your Toddler
Read to your baby all the time. Look at picture books together, ones with bright colors and high-contrast patterns. He’ll love listening to your voice and looking at the illustrations. One of the most important benefits of reading to your baby is that it plays a large role in language and literacy development. Storytelling also offers children the opportunity to learn about feelings as they sympathize with characters in a book. Children who are read to not only improve their literacy skills, their language skills improve, too. Studies have proven that children who are regularly read to perform better at school and exhibit less troubled behavior.
Name Objects To Your Toddler
Parents and caretakers of toddlers can take a number of steps to help small children recognize their body parts. They can name body parts as they go through the day. When parents wipe a toddler’s nose, they can mention the name of the body part that sits in the center of the face. When parents ask for a child’s hand before crossing a street, they can hesitate for a moment and wait for the child to extend her arms and give it to you.
Parents may also use bath time to name each body part as it’s being washed or read age-appropriate board books about body parts. You could also play games that involve body parts. They can invent new games or play existing games such as “The Hokey Pokey” or peek-a-boo! Instead of directing children to put their left or right foot in, they can say, “Put your feet in.”
The communication skills that babies learn in their first year set the stage for success in developing reading, writing, and social skills later in life. While every baby is at their own pace, the continued practice of our guide will definitely improve your baby’s communication with you!