Expanding Your Child’s Language At Home

Are you looking for ways to expand your child’s language? For children, parents are the best teachers for every necessary development process, including language. The best advantage you have as a parent is that you can use every moment you spend with your child as a learning opportunity.

In this article, we will discuss some highly effective techniques that will help you develop and expand your child’s language at home.

Techniques of Language Expansion

1.    Be Patient

The very first technique you need to practice is patience. It can be quite challenging, especially when you’re rushing through house chores to wait patiently for your child to utter some words. But what parents need to primarily acknowledge is that they’re teaching little children after all.

This is why it will take them extra seconds and even minutes to form cohesive words for requesting, asking or commenting. Let’s suppose you’re engaging your child in a puzzle game. You may say things like, “I found a shoe, where do you think it should fit?”

In such a situation, your child or toddler may be trying to communicate through pointing or looking at the spot where the puzzle piece should fit. But wait the extra seconds and encourage your child to speak the words. Give the kid enough space and encouragement to process information and words to jump into conversation with you.

2.    Scaffold

The scaffolding technique is all about encouraging your child to add a bit more information. For example, if you are indulging in playtime with your little one and he/she points at a toy, expand on it. You could repeat the same word, such as “car” with a descriptor saying “big car” or “blue car” etc.

You could add verbs too, such as, “Wow, a moving car”. This way, your child will pick the cue and soon try to expand their original sentences too when imitating you.

3.    Establish Communicative Intent

Since parents generally get to spend the most time with their kids, they can use this opportunity to build communicative intent. Your child will always give you tons of communicative intent that while not silent, will certainly be quiet.

So how do you use this communicative intent for expanding his/her language? You can do that through contact or smiling at your child to encourage more communication. Remember that children usually make eye contact when they identify someone as a communication partner.

You can also build communicative intent through the triadic gaze. In this gaze, your child generally tries to deliver a message silently to you while gazing into your eyes. So if your child looks at you, then at his/her toy planes, try to engage them instantly.

You can do so by saying, “Planes! Wow, I love that big winged plane”. You can further expand on this by asking, “Which plane should we fly first?”

You must note that as children grow up, their first form of communication is through gesturing or pointing. You must respond by verbalizing their objects and encouraging them to speak. So if your little one is pointing to an apple, you can say, “Oh, you like apples? I can slice one for you”.

With this approach, you’d not only model language employment for your child but also build his/her vocabulary.

4.    Create Opportunities for Speaking

As a parent, you are the central part of all the routine activities and every moment of your child. You can use this fact to create multiple speaking opportunities throughout the day for them. For instance, when you know the regular toys your child plays with daily, try putting them out of reach before he/she wakes up.

This will compel your child to ask for the toy in some way and initiate conversation. If you know your child loves some snacks, you can place those in sights but out of his/her reach. You can also create speaking opportunities in many other ways.

For example, pretending to be forgetful when going about a daily routine with your child will make them speak.  For instance, if you dress up your child every morning, then you can deliberately forget to comb his/her hair or put the socks on. This will make the child notice the change and prompt him/her to remind you.

Predictable activities can be your next best bet. For instance, if you have been teaching your little one nursery rhyme, you could deliberately forget some lyrics while singing. Take a pause in between to encourage your child to fill in the blank.

In addition to encouraging language, it will also teach your child about turn-taking and language exchange can be fun.

5.    Music is an Expansion Technique Itself

We mentioned above how singing nursery rhymes and deliberately forgetting words can be a form of language expansion for your child. The fact is that music is already a language on its own and can instill incredible skills in your child.

Perhaps every person must have noted how certain children in their circle are not very verbal. But the moment you play an upbeat song for them, you’ll see an instant change in behavior. Some children even clap, dance, move or at least smile when they hear music.

If you find a level of interest for music in your child too, this could be one of your most helpful tools. You can play the child’s favorite rhyme or song a couple of times daily. Sing it aloud so that the child soon memorizes the words. Also try to incorporate hand motions and movements corresponding with the beat.

6.    Use Routines for Child Language Expansion

Nobody understands the importance of building a routine for children more than parents. What’s even better is that you can use this as a chance for making your child more language-centric too. You can literally use the simplest routines, such as meal times, bath times etc. for building language and speech.

Try to maintain a similar narrative while going through the daily routines with your child. For example, during bath time, keep a consistent narrative such as, “Now we will brush our teeth” or “Now we will lather soap onto our body” etc.

This will help the child pick up vocabulary, associate with the elements part of the routines and find encouragement to contribute too.

Final Thoughts

Parents are the best language teachers for children. Parents can do plenty of things at home to help build the language and speech skills of their child. By combining our language expansion techniques with a few simple objects and daily routines, you will surely find remarkable language development in your child.