What’s That?

My toddler has been wandering around asking “What’s that?” a lot lately.  He wants to know the names of everything, and though this question doesn’t appear for a while, this need to know names for things seems to start at birth.

Baby brains are primed to soak up language.  In fact, one of the reasons we include object play in the Village classes each week for ages 0-18 months is because object play is essential to language development.  The more experience and time for exploration a baby has with an object, the more he learns about it.  Then, once he’s gained some personal knowledge from his own experience he begins to label:  “Hey, this is a blue bouncy ball.”

So, what do you do to help this process?  Well, one of my all-time favorite ideas is to take Baby for a tour of your house.  There is an amazing variety of things you can introduce to your baby:  pictures on the wall, door, doorknobs, shower curtains, faucets, bedspreads, and on and on.  Somethings you may allow him to touch, other things will be best explored through sight.  Tell Baby what you are seeing and, perhaps, how it is used.  You can even label the rooms as you move about through the house.  Don’t forget to talk about colors, smells, and even sounds.  One of my favorites was actually looking at our wall of family photos and naming grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  To this day, both boys still like to go to the wall and talk about who’s in all the pictures.

Here’s another useful tip.  This activity can make a great way to wind down for naptime or bedtime.  I used to do this with my oldest (who was easily overstimulated) when we were trying to stretch the time between his naps.  It managed to keep him awake while keeping him calm and engaged.  I have also heard of taking a “goodnight walk” and saying “goodnight” to each object in a room or throughout the house as a special bedtime routine.

Regardless of the variation you choose to share, you will be opening the door to the wonderful world of words for your sweet baby.

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