A guest blog post by Karolina Spałek from Poland
The following article is addressed to all parents of 0- to 3-year-old children.
A two-year-old child should use about 200 - 300 words, including the names of family members (mummy, daddy), toys, onomatopoeic words and basic verbs (eat, sleep, drink, walk, etc.). Every day, I have to deal with children who do not use words. They just do not speak at all. It seems worrying. It can even be said that a child who is not able to speak, is at the same time not able to think. The ability of using speech promotes the development of thinking. If you want your child to develop properly from the very first moments of his life, the most effective way is to take advantage of fun and learn through play.
An excellent method of learning a language is to create communication situations in which the child feels the need to talk: the situations concerning desires, satisfaction and joy.
The factor of the quantity of words and the quality of language you use to communicate with your child has an invaluable impact on the speech development. We should not underestimate the fact that the speech and language development has a lot in common with shaping other skills, such as writing, reading and learning. Language facilities are also crucial in establishing contacts and relationships with other people.
You can easily influence the correct development of your toddler. The following list consists of some inspiring tips for the speaking manners and some pieces of advice concerning the proper use of toys while strengthening the bond with your baby:
1. Talk to your child as often as possible: during everyday activities, walks, shopping, etc. Speak slowly, clearly and correctly. Keep the eye contact while addressing your child. When you show animals, things and people - call them. If your child is in a pushchair, remember to keep him facing you! By using this strategy, you provide the child with an opportunity to observe your facial expressions, emotions and the movement of your mouth!
2. Provide sound stimuli: avoid or eliminate television completely. It unnecessarily stimulates the child and leads to sensory processing disorders. Instead, listen to the sounds of the environment. Ask and answer: What is it? A car, a dog, a cat...
3. Have fun by imitating animals - show pictures of animals, imitate their noises (cow: moo, cat: meow, dog: woof, au). Enjoy walking like astork, speaking or jump like a frog, moving like a cat or swing like a monkey!
4. Imitate the sounds of vehicles: car engines, trains, aeroplanes. It is a good idea to use toy vehicles and onomatopoeic words to show how the real ones move and sound. You can put some toys or objects inside: a doll driver or your child's favourite bear. Do not forget to ask questions during the play: What can you see? What is it? It gives the child an opportunity to make a choice what he or she wants the vehicle to carry. A ball or a teddy bear? A cat or a dog?
5. Be a storyteller. Read or tell stories to your child every day before bedtime. Take advantage of illustrated books or fairy tales. Read a passage and ask your child what he remembers: What was the story about? Who is in the picture? What's happened?
6. Present illustrations, ask questions and give your child a chance to come up with the answer: Who is it? What is he doing?
7. Talk about experiences. Let the child express his emotions while talking about a kindergarten or a day spent with a grandmother. Allow your child to talk about shopping with his mother or the animals met during a walk.
8. Enjoy counting with your child: How many cats can you see in the picture? How many animals are there in the car? How many apples has daddy bought? One, two, three! Three apples! Ask questions and count together with your child!
9. Use the mirror: make funny faces, touch your nose or chin with your tongue, lick your lips. By following your behaviour, by repetition, your child creates a sense of awareness of his own body. With your guidance, he does it in a pleasant atmosphere. Remember to let your child act on his own initiative and try to mimic his gestures!
10. Draw. Use crayons and markers - inform your child what you are drawing: Mummy is drawing a cat. What does a cat do? Meow! The child scribbles but later follows the scheme. This is a combination of speech development and the improvement of motor skills. It prepares your child to draw, colour and write.
11. Practice breathing: whistle, use pipes, flutes, fans. Make soap bubbles, blow feathers, pieces of paper or ping pong balls. Blow a drop of water using a straw or let your child have fun by blowing the paint around the paper to create fabulously abstract works of art. This painting can be attached to the fridge with a colorful magnet clip!
If your child does not speak, encourage him by all means to do so!
300 - 500 words -this is an amount of active vocabulary of a three-year-old child who uses them to build his first sentences. Remember that the onomatopoeic expressions, such as 'woof' or 'meow' are ones that vary across cultures and nationalities! If you notice that your child lags behind his peers in his ability to talk, it is necessary to contact a speech and language therapist. However, before the first visit, do not waste your time and take matters into your own hands! Help your child to move forward! I wish you good luck in all actions you will carry out to encourage your little ones to use language!
Translate: Aleksandra Kmieć