Every parent wants their child to reach their developmental milestones. Communication is one of such milestones. It is an essential part of life and the ability to communicate creates a connection with others through verbal and non verbal mediums.
Most babies have an ability to communicate from birth but there are roles to play in order to help the baby reach their full communication potentials.
An immediate response to your baby’s gestures, looks and sounds, tells the baby that their communications is making impact. It is your response that determines your baby`s likelihood to repeat words, sounds, or gestures. This will encourage the repetition of these skills.
Ensure that you come down to your toddler`s level, take it slowly, look them in the eye and give time for response during communication. Make this a routine because children learn communication in everyday moments. As long as you take it slowly, your toddler will struggle less with speech and language development. Talking with your child on their level will help them think of themselves as good communicators and they will be motivated to keep making the effort.
Teach your toddler non-verbal communication and lead them to imitate body movements or signals. If you introduce non-verbal communication early, your toddler will have a better chance of acquiring speech. Just like verbal communication has developmental transitions, so does non-verbal communication.
Recognize your child’s feelings and react to them in a relaxed and accommodating way. Your toddler is likely to keep making attempts at communication if they know they won’t be mocked teased, or written off. When children feel that that their feelings and experiences are respected, they are often able to make progress. Empathize with your toddler as they struggle with communication.
When you go below eye level during communication, your toddler will have a better chance of picking up on subtle cues or facial expressions as against when you tower over them. Squat, bend, sit or kneel when talking to your toddler. You can also hold desired objects close to your face, that way your toddler can always look at your eyes and mouth for cues.
Children tend to learn and use language while playing. It helps to make good choice of toys for your toddler. Encourage toys that help color, letter and shape identification as well as open ended play and communication activities.
Read together so that your toddler can learn language skills and literacy. It will also make them look forward to spending time with you. The more interest the toddler has in reading, the more attentive and enjoyable your time together will be. The older they grow; they will find reading as a pleasurable experience.
Your toddler should make the effort towards items they are reaching out for. Don’t just hand it over to them on a gold platter. Make them attempt sound, word, sign, or gesture of the target item a few times and make it seem like fun. If you are so keen to give in to your toddler`s wants and always readily give them, they will never feel like they have to do something to earn it.
Make narrations to your toddler as you undertake your daily routine; this helps your child connect words with objects and actions regularly. Ask your child questions and once they can speak, encourage them to ask you questions too.
Your toddler will more likely communicate freely when they’re pretending. Encourage pretend play and make this a chance to take on different roles and to imitate various people. This helps your toddler develop language as well as social skills.