By Frances Blanchette
Summer is a great time for fun activities and trips with the whole family. This often means that parents spend extra special time with their kids. Consider incorporating some of these very simple tips as you interact with the kids in your life:
1. Responsiveness is important. Parents’ level of responsiveness to their children is one of the key predictors of children’s gains in language abilities and skills. Research suggests that when your children initiate conversation in any way, and you respond promptly and in a manner appropriate to their initiative (like providing an answer to their question), you’re actually aiding their language acquisition!
2. Talk about the things that interest them. Children learn new words and phrases best when they’re talking about things they’re interested in. When first learning a language, it can be difficult for kids to connect words with objects. Research shows that being interested in an object actually helps kids remember its name the next time they come across it. What a quick, simple, and fun way to learn new words!
3. Talk in the language you speak the best. When parents talk at length about past experiences, children become excellent narrators. The quality of your speech is one of the most important predictors of your child’s language abilities and skills. For this reason, it is important to speak to your child in the language you speak best (even if you speak a second language).
|These tips were adapted from the Society for Research and Development’s Social Policy Report (27): Multilingual Children: Beyond Myths and Toward Best Practices, prepared by Dr. Alyssa McCabe and colleagues. The full report, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is available online.|