With the holiday season upon us, it can be a hectic time for moms & dads who are trying to get the lights up, the tree decorated, the shopping done, and still do all the regular chores and fulfill work responsibilities and other commitments. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves. We may want the picture perfect holiday, but stop and smell the “poinsettias” and share a cup of hot chocolate with your child. Don’t forget the marshmallows! It’s so important to turn off all the outside noise and sit for even 10 or 15 minutes and read a story. Developing language skills involves lots of little things that we may not even realize are important. Here are a few:
- Set aside quiet time.
- Make sure you have your child’s attention and he has yours.
- Make eye contact and smile when your child attempts to communicate. With or without words, our children can feel our presence and if we are truly present.
- Read a book.
- Use a fun, silly, exaggerated voice when reading and when introducing new vocabulary, give a brief description of what it is or what it is used for.
- Talk about pictures with one or more descriptions (Santa’s soft, red hat).
- Talk about spatial concepts or ask questions including yes/no: “Does Santa where his hat on his feet or his head?” or “Where does Santa put the presents?” (Under the tree)
- When you are performing simple daily activities, include your child. If you are cooking say, “Look, I am stirring the soup with a spoon. Can you stir the soup with a spoon? What are you stirring the soup with?” All of these small verbal interactions will help increase language in your child.
- And remember… Have Fun! Life really does go by so quickly and the small memories we make are so much bigger than all the presents under the tree.