At 5am, my toddler approached me with bright beaming eyes and said clearly, “Bernadine can I have some water”. My first reaction was shocked that he could pronounce each syllable in my 3-syllable name. My second reaction was who calls me by my first name when he is around. Since his birth, my husband and I typically call each other Mom and Dad when addressing each other around him. I could not remember a time when my husband used my first name. I am usually, Mom, Honey, Sweetie, etc. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when he pronounced it clearly and used it correctly.
When I told the story at Daycare our provider gave stories of how all the kids tell all of their families business during playtime. My experience and her stories exemplify the importance of exposing children to language early and correctly.
Here are some things we can do to help our child on this language development journey.
- Clearly articulate and pronounce words so that the little ears can pick up the complexities of language.
- Read to your child. The best way to encourage complex language development for your child is to read to them often. Dr. Seuss’ the Cat in the Hat was written to include all the words a child should know before school. Pick up a copy of this as well as other books.
- Talk to them even when they cannot talk back. Before baby can even verbalize words, they are soaking in how language works and how conversations grows. That quiet 1 year old will soon be a walking-talking “wall”.