If there was one easy thing that we knew was great for our kids physical and mental health, for their learning, and their happiness – wouldn’t we all do it!?
That thing is playing and talking together. The more interactions your child has with sensitive adults, the more their language will develop, along with their concentration and ability to manage when life is upsetting.
There are four keys ways in which you can do this, and they are set out on these posters
Play and talk together
It only needs a little to make a huge difference to your child, how they develop, and it lays the foundations for dealing with the ups and downs that lie ahead – toddlers who get lots of playing & talking with adults have more friends later on, and do better at school and as teenagers!
- Find some quiet time each day, with the TV off and phone away, when you and your child can concentrate on playing and talking
- Just do whatever is fun – the simpler the better
- Whatever your child is doing, try and follow their lead – talk about what they are doing, and wait for a response
- Keep your language simple, but use “real” language, rather than baby talk
Be Face to Face
Make sure your child can see your face when you talk – it helps in picking up the words, and shows you are interested
- So sit, or bend down, to be on the same level
- Use your expressions to show you are enjoying the play
Pause and wait
Your child needs time to think how to answer you, and to put the words and actions together, so …
- If you say something, then wait – count to at least 10 in your head if needed
- Give your child a chance to talk – about whatever he or she wants
Respond to what they say by …
Copying and adding
Your child will use your response to help learn about what they have just said:
- Show you understand by repeating back the words
- If your child makes a mistake, repeat back the correct form – so if they say “narna”, say, “yes, a banana”. Your child will compare the two and work out which to use eventually
- Add some new words – “yes, it is a doggie, a BIG doggie!”
Try not to use too many questions – comments are easier to learn from. So instead of “what colour is the car?”, try “wow, a red car – the car is red!”
For more detail on building a conversation through play, try the SELFIE Steps!