Children learn very fast during their early years. They are able to develop impressive language skills while they are young. Research shows that the first eight years of a child’s life are important in building a foundation for their learning. Children do not need to be taught languages, they pick them up as they go. Therefore, you should be deliberately involved in teaching your child a new language.
Some linguists believe that learning a language is easier for children because talking is genetic, much like walking or eating. They also believe that younger children learn a language faster and better than older children. The best time to start building your child’s language skills is immediately after they are born. This you can achieve by doing the following.
Building Language Skills
Talk to your child– Babies as little as 4-months old are already able to identify language and differentiate between it and other sounds. They also develop the ability to make sounds as they babble and coo. This implies that, as early as infancy, babies begin to develop their language skills, picking bits and pieces from the conversations around them. The best way to build your child’s language skills is to communicate with them in the language(s) you want them to understand. Children can learn up to two or more languages if the languages are actively spoken to and around them.
Be articulate– A lot of times adults tend to babble at young children who are still developing their language skills. This is redundant and limits their abilities. A better way is to speak to children in actual and simple words, making use of exaggerations, rhythm and repetition. As children begin to identify words, try not to speak too fast so that they can notice word boundaries and learn words individually. As they grow they begin to piece words together in bits that may be illogical, but it is all a process to building their vocabulary.
Encourage them– Children at about 18 -months can begin to put two to three-word sentences together to make small requests. At this point, encourage them to use their words rather than pointing or gesturing. Ask them direct questions and get answers out of them. Let them repeat their request after you if there is a correction you need to make. Pay attention and have simple conversations with them. Also, reading to them goes a long way in building their vocabulary.
Again, the best time to start teaching language skills is as soon as children are born. Apply these steps at home or in daycare. Ensure that there is a deliberate effort put in to ensure that it is done properly.
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