Learning Experiences to Improve Language Development: An Age-by-Age Guide (Birth to 5)
Below are simple and effective activities to improve your child’s language development for five years, right from birth.
Birth to 2 Years
Right from birth, begin to talk to your child frequently. You can read them stories from books. It would help if you always narrated your actions as you do them. An example is you talking as you dress them or feed them. You can also tell them about your day. That way, you expose your child to learning the language faster.
Toddlers begin to communicate with gestures from the age, like waving goodbye or pointing at things. When this happens with your child, it is advised that you begin to supply words that go along with those gestures. You use these gestures to convey meaning. For instance, if your child waves, say “Bye-bye!” in response to help the child make a connection.
Attempt these steps when your baby tries to communicate. Make eye contact, imitate their sounds, and you can also give some verbal responses, to mention but a few. If your child repeats a single word over time as “daddy,” develop the language used by asking questions like this; “where’s Daddy?” “Do you want to see Daddy?” and giving answers like “Daddy’s at work,” “Daddy will be home soon.”
Avoid exaggerated baby talk; instead, employ real words. Also, utilize tone and inflection, like raising the pitch of your voice when asking a question, thereby conveying meaning.
2 to 4 Years
There is a likelihood that your child will be able to understand simple questions, follow basic instructions and identify pictures and certain body parts when naming them. Do not stop having conversations with your child. Avoid baby talks. Continue reading them books, asking questions, and talking about what is illustrated in the pictures.
At this age, your child will love rhymes and songs and repeatedly request the same ones they have heard over time. You can continue developing your child’s language by asking polar questions (i.e., yes-no questions), also ask questions that involve them picking a choice (an example is asking what color of shirts they want or what colors of shoes they will prefer wearing), points at objects, name them and talk about what they do. Please encourage your child to speak by responding to what they say instead of correcting them when they make mistakes in their speech.
4 to 5 Years
This age is when you continue encouraging your child not to stop speaking. Acknowledge them, respond to them when they speak, and give your full attention when they begin a conversation.
Introduce new words to your child but while doing that, provide simple definitions and use the words in a context that can be easily understood.
Begin to ask your child questions relating to categorizing objects. Ask them what doesn’t belong and why that is. Give them multi-step directions and encourage them to give instructions as well. Talk about spatial relationships, what’s first, middle, and last. Talk about the opposite concept (up and down). Play rhyming games with your child and see if your child can guess a word by providing clues.
Keep the line of conversation with your child open as you carry out your daily activities. When you visit the grocery store, talk about the items you are getting, the sizes, and which items your child likes and dislikes. Encourage your child to improve their vocabulary and use language in numerous complex ways.