Activities to encourage your child’s language to grow
By age one
- Talk to your child as you care for him or her throughout the day. "Let's put on your socks. They are so snug but we can get them on."
- Read colorful books to your child every day.
- Tell nursery rhymes and sing songs.
- Teach your child the names of everyday items and familiar people.
- Take your child to new places and situations.
- Play simple games with your child such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake.”
Between age one and two
- Encourage and reward early efforts at saying new words.
- Talk to your child about everything you’re doing while you are with him/her.
- Discuss new situations with your child before you go, while you’re there, and again when you are home. "Did you enjoy the zoo today. That funny lion was so lazy."
- When your child is talking to you, look at him/her.
- Describe what your child is doing, feeling, and hearing. For example, “I hear a cricket chirping. I wonder why he is making that loud sound. Do you hear it too?”
Between two and three
- Repeat new words over and over. “The landscaping is new. I like the neighbors’ landscaping.”
- Help your child listen and follow instructions by playing games. “Blow the bubbles. Touch mommy’s nose.”
- Take your child on trips and talk about what you see, smell, hear, etc.
- Allow time for your child to tell you answers to simple questions.
- Describe what you are doing, planning, thinking. “I am washing the dishes in hot water. The hot water and soap will clean the dirty dishes and silverware.”
- Ask questions to get your child to think and talk.
- Expand what your child says. Child says, “Juice.” You say, “Yes juice, you want more juice.”
Between three and four
- Talk about how some things are same/different, skinny/wide, thick/thin, fast/slow, inside/outside, etc.
- Encourage your child to tell stories using books and pictures.
- Let your child play with other children, attend play groups, and/or attend community activities (i.e. library, bookstores).
- Continue to read to your child, including longer stories.