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The first thing you likely think of when you see a toddler is how cute they are, and you start cooing them in baby talk. Your voice becomes excessive in sweetness, your pitch goes up, and you use more chances to blabber.
While this may be cute and look innocent, that kind of baby talk actually does more harm to the child’s language learning skills than you realize. In fact, how you speak to your kids determines the rate that they will learn basic language skills and words, according to findings of a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
As a parent, you will have a crucial part to play in the language development of your young one. Aside from using learning tools such as Fun English for kids, there are some things to keep in mind.
Conversations will always help their brains make stronger connections
A research study on some children aged four to six years was done by some scientists, who had records of their conversations between the kids and their parents during the period of two days. They studied various aspects of the conversational skills of the children, and then did MRI scans to examine the pathways within their brain.
The more children engaged in proper conversations with their parents, the more pathways they had in the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of the brain – two regions that are responsible for the production of understanding of speech.
It is important to take turns with them
At the same time, you might be excited by this revelation and begin to talk to your children all the time. However, give them space to talk as well, and allow them to learn to respond to questions in their own ways.
While talking to them will help their vocabulary and comprehension skills increase significantly, it is also good to have dynamic conversations with them. This teaches them the importance of turn taking and listening to others, an underrated but vital skill.
What we mean here is this – it is better to have a high quality of speech, rather than high quantity. It is one of the most fundamental aspects of human language, yet it is easy to take it for granted. When you think about it critically, it is actually true – you require to send a message to the other person, wait for them to respond, then return a message to them.
The understanding of this skill will set the child up for success when it comes to interacting with others and development of their emotions.
Listening to music with them helps their language skills
It is no secret that music is a powerful thing, and can teach a child about movements as well as language. All young kids love music, and you can easily find them singing along to songs that are lively and make them happy.
Take advantage of this and listen to good music with them, and even sing along to the songs and encourage them to join in. these can include children’s songs. This will also help them understand that all languages have a rhythm, and they will recall more words faster.
Tell them stories
Another important activity that your child will always enjoy is you telling those stories, whether you do it in the middle of the day, when you come home from work, or just before they go to sleep. You might not think of yourself as a great storyteller – but the truth is you do not need to be one.
As long as you make the story exciting, they will eventually pick up new words from you. You can also try speaking at a slightly slower rate to help them say some words, encourage them to say the word, and correct them when they make a mistake. It is all a part of learning, and they will grow in their language skills as long as they are encouraged to speak up and make mistakes.
It is not wise to talk to your young one in baby talk – it only stunts their language skills. Do your best to speak to them like a normal person, and you will soon see them mastering more words in their young minds.