From birth to two years, you can use these activities to encourage and support language growth and development:
- READING – It is never too early to start! Introduce books to your baby as early as 6 months of age. Begin with simple picture books, such as one picture per page, and books with textures. Encourage your child to hold the book and turn the pages, provide assistance as needed. Use a variety of environmental sounds when naming and describing the pictures – animal sounds, colors, shapes, actions, and locations. The local library is a great resource for age-appropriate books for your child. When you are there getting books, check out the available CDs for children. If you are offering books on a tablet, talk to your child as you would with a hard copy book. Continue to make sounds and describe pictures as you swipe through the pages.
- TALK – Begin talking to your baby right after birth, some parents will talk to their baby even before birth! Talk to your child about what is happening at that moment to them, or talk while you are preparing to change a diaper, preparing a bath, or preparing a bottle. As your child grows, continue to talk about the events that fill your day – preparing for daycare/work, trips to the store, riding in the car and changes to the day-to-day routine.
- MEALTIME – If possible, encourage everyone in the family to eat one meal together per day. Mealtime supports a positive relationship with each other and encourages language development related to food. Mealtime is also a great opportunity to talk about events that happened during the day or will happen in the near future.
- MUSIC – Introduce music to your infant, some families prefer classical music, while others prefer country western and jazz. Music specifically geared toward all children can be found on You Tube and Pandora. Also, check out CDs from the local library when you go to get books for your child. And of course, just sing to your child. Create your own versions of familiar finger play songs and include gestures while you sing.
- SCREEN TIME – Monitor the amount of time your child is given screen time from the television, tablet, and phone. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends no screen time for children birth to 18 months of age, and for children 2 years to 5 years, the AAP recommends only 1 hour of screen time per day, with content being very important. Instead of offering your child a screen, engage your child in play or provide activities that encourage movement, language development and social interactions while you interact with your child.