Communication is a vital skill, and one, your baby starts learning when they first hear your voice in the womb. From about 20 weeks, the foetus starts hearing its mother’s voice marking the start of a long journey.
Once born, this journey takes its next steps. Communication isn’t just language or words, but rather the connection your baby feels with you. Paying attention, smiling, making noises, singing lullabies and playing music all engage your baby’s senses and teach communication. Your little one appreciates attention and communicating in a meaningful way is one of the best ways to build a bond and develop communication skills. We’re going to look at some easy ways to promote learning, communication, and understanding.
Take note of gestures, sounds, and looks
Communication isn’t just about the words we use but the sounds, facial cues, eye contact, and more are all forms of communication. From a young age, you should try and respond to little markers from your little ones. If your baby coos or makes a sound, then make one back. This response system is essential in effective communication and encourages your little one to develop these skills.
Take time and listen
When talking to your infant or toddler remember that communication is all new to them and that it may take some time for them to process words and cues. You should give them time to respond. You can also make this more obvious by making eye contact and asking simple questions. This gives your child direction and allows you to guide conversations.
Remember to make your requests and statements clear and simple. Choosing language that is appropriate for their age is also key as using verbose language can make them feel confused and unsure of their skills. It’s also important to call for their attention before asking questions. This allows them to give you their full attention and listen closely.
Turn activities into communication exercises
You can also make the most of mealtimes, reading time, playtimes and more by asking questions while doing other activities. For example, if you’re playing with a ball ask what colour it is, what they are doing with the ball etc. Reading time is especially useful for this as you can explore every page and ask plenty of questions.
To make your reading time even more effective try letting your child choose the book. The more interested children are, the more they will engage with the book and it helps build agency, self-confidence, and a bond between you and your child. People who read from a young age are more likely to enjoy reading and develop a lifelong love of reading.
Talk about your day
Even when your child is not actively communicating with you it’s helpful for you to narrate your actions. You can tell them what you’re making for lunch, how you change their clothes, or whatever else you may be up to. This helps your child not only understand you but aids building vocabulary so they can communicate more effectively with you.
Create a safe space to communicate
Your little one is unique and will feel more comfortable expressing themselves when they don’t feel judged or teased. Once your child understands words and phrases for moods, such as happy, sad, angry etc. then make sure you express that you understand them. This will make them feel heard and understood and make communicating instructions easier.
Stepping Stones Day Nursery is a wonderful Nottingham-based day nursery committed to helping your little one develop in a safe and happy environment. We believe it takes a village to raise a child and we provide every child with support, education, enrichment and entertainment. To book a visit or get a free trial session contact us today.