As a parent, you’ll spend hours of your life interacting with your children. From the moment they appear and flip your world upside down, those little smiles and telling looks will make all the difference. Even when your child doesn’t seem incredibly responsive, they’re taking things in, ingesting what they can see, and learning all the time. Communication is so powerful, and it’s such an important way to build relationships and get to know your children. If you find it difficult to break down barriers or you’re looking for new ways to interact with your kids and make the learning experience more fun, this guide should come in handy.

Supporting speech and language development

Every child is different. Some children will be able to talk the hind legs off a donkey by the time they reach the age of 2 or 3 years old. Others may have a great vocabulary, but be more reticent to use it. Sometimes, it takes children a lot longer to learn words than others. Whatever stage your child is at, it’s hugely beneficial to support and encourage their development. Reading stories together is one of the best ways to teach your child new words and phrases, and also encourage discussion. You can chat about the book you’ve just read together, come up with your own tales, and learn more about any new words you’ve come across. Listening to audiobooks and watching educational programmes and films can also be incredibly beneficial.

It’s increasingly common for young children to speak more than one language. If you have a partner who speaks another language and you want your children to develop advanced language skills, support them by learning at the same time. If your partner’s first language isn’t English, and they want to improve their skills, visiting online pages like those on AJ Hoge’s website could prove helpful. If you want to learn another language, you can practice with your child and chat together. It’s also a good idea to look into taking classes. Try not to overload your child, and help them out with written exercises and reading. If everybody learns together, you’ll all benefit from the time you spend conversing.

Encouraging expression

Sometimes, a child’s ability to communicate is not restricted by their vocabulary or the processes involved with forming words. Often, children don’t communicate freely because they’re worried about saying certain things or they don’t feel comfortable being open. Encourage your child to express themselves from an early age. Speak to them, listen to what they say, and urge them to give their opinions and share their ideas. Get them involved when you’re choosing activities or planning days out or holidays. Ask them what’s up if they don’t seem themselves and let them know that you’re always available to listen, whether they want to tell you what they’ve done at school today or why they’re feeling sad.

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