How do children learn new words and use them correctly? Yes, you got it, from us, the adults; and their peers. But, children can watch and listen to adults on the television and on DVD’s etc. is that just as good? The answer is NO! Children need the response of others to help guide their learning of language and communication.
I was really interested to read the following link the other day:
Detailing a new study by researchers at the University of Washington, Temple University, and the University of Delaware, appears in the journal Child Development; and they have questioned why learning from video has proven to be more difficult for children to learn words. They have found that it's the responsiveness of the interactions that's key: ‘When we respond to children in timely and meaningful ways, they learn -- even when that response comes from a screen.’ i.e. skype.
This also supports my previous blog regarding the fact that mobile phones can be a barrier to successful and effective communication.
It is so important to let children know that their attempts at communication are valued and important! To do that, all you need to do is listen attentively, and respond to what they said. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go into elaborate detail of what paint and brush they used to paint their picture in nursery, nor should you just give an uninterested response of ‘that’s nice dear’ etc. Get down on their level, give them plenty of eye contact, use facial expressions and gestures, intonate your voice etc. None of which is rocket science but, it will have wonderful effects on your child’s self-esteem.
As Libby Hill has mentioned previously, Hanen have a great term called 'owling' and we all need to do more of this:
So, take a step back and see every day activities as an opportunity to listen to your child and respond to their communication attempts. You are your child’s ‘model’ of communication!