La-la-language learning

One of the sweetest sounds I ever heard was when my first-born said “Mama” for the first time.  Two syllables can pack a lot of power.

Happily, the delight only continues as a little one adds more and more words to his vocabulary.  “He said duck!” Before long you find yourself begging your child to recite his entire vocabulary for grandma over the phone:  “Can you say ball?  How about dog?”  In fact, my hubby and I still chuckle at the adorable pronunciations of our two-year old and regularly give him ridiculously long or complicated words to try to echo simply to hear what he does with them.  Yes, we are goofy, but it’s a fun journey.  Here are a few tips to help your little learner soak up all he can as he starts down that road.

8 Things Baby Needs for Good Language Acquisition:

  1. varied and frequent language experiences (lots of experiences, and lots of different experiences)
  2. opportunities for “conversation” (those sweet moments when you gaze at each other and talk back and forth giving space for baby to “answer” you)
  3. your descriptions of events as they happen (such as “Uh, oh, the toy fell out of your carrier!”  “Look at that red car zoom past.”)
  4. descriptions of objects (“Oh, what soft brown teddy bear.”)
  5. chances to hear conversation between grownups
  6. exposure to books
  7. exposure to rhythm and rhyme
  8. vocal play (repeating words, rhythms, rhymes, using a high/low voice, speaking expressively, and playing with the vowels and consonants in words)

You can even start this week by sharing a book together, paying a little extra attention to the language.  (For those of you currently enrolled in our Village classes, your new Dream Pillow book is perfect.)  Share it together at bedtime, naptime, or quiet time.  As you read together play with the consonants in the words (dusk, kissing, shadows, humming, pillows, quietest, whisper, etc.)  Think about how you might change your voice as you read – higher, lower, faster, slower, soothing, exciting, whispered, sung.  Watch for baby’s response.  If you get some wiggles or coos, maybe it’d be a good idea to read the whole book again, especially since repetition often aids learning.  Best of all enjoy the snuggles and the sweet time together.  Before you know it, your little one will be reading to you!

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