Help Your Child Talk: Attention, Listening and Understanding Checklists

Here’s extract 18 from How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter: your chance to learn more about the way your child learns to talk.
If you’d like to get in touch, maybe with a question on babies, toddlers and language development, or any communication topic, feel free to email me through the Contact Me tab at the top of the blog. Questions you ask may find their way (anonymously) into the new Frequently Asked Questions page. find it by clicking the tap at the top of the page.

If you’re a new reader, CLICK HERE to read How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter from the very beginning.This link takes you to the first post, so you can read the extracts in sequence. I try to post every Friday, by noon GMT.
This week is a bit of a recap of some of the things we’ve looked at over the past few weeks. Here’s a very brief set of simple checklists of things to remember with your baby and toddler, covering the first three keys to language skill: attention, listening and understanding. 

Attention skills: babies
  • Make eye contact.
  • Speak gently.
  • Notice which sense your baby is using.
  • Play peep-bo and sing nursery rhymes.
  • Limit the number of toys around him.
  • Let him sleep and be quiet.

Attention skills: toddlers

  • Alternate quiet times with activity.
  • Limit TV and encourage his own activities.
  • Watch for overstimulation and let him relax quietly.
  • Call his name and wait for him to look at you.
  • Get down to his level so he can see you.
  • Keep calm when he gets frustrated.
  • Consider signing with him.
  • Tell bedtime stories.
  • Sing nursery rhymes.
Listening: babies
  • Babble and play cooing games, encouraging your baby to enjoy babbling.
  • Say his name or touch his hand to gain his attention.
  • Make eye contact and smile at your baby when you talk.
  • Turn off the TV and radio for a time every day while you play.
  • Sing nursery rhymes together.
Listening: toddlers
  • Keep to a routine, with quiet times for stories, games and puzzles 
  • Include times for noisy play and letting off steam. 
  • Tidy his toys occasionally so he attends to one thing at a time. 
  • Smile when your child talks to you. 
  • Turn off the TV and radio for a time every day while you play. 
  • Make a quiet corner with somewhere to sit and draw, colour or look at books.
Understanding
  • Repeat simple words in many different contexts.
  • Broaden your toddler’s understanding of the world by taking him out to different places.
  • Talk to him about the things he sees.
  • Keep the language you use simple: one or two words in his first year.
  • Emphasise important “key” words in a sentence.
  • Place a new word at the end of a sentence. 

 If you’re finding these extracts useful, and can’t wait to read the rest of the ebook, just BUY NOW. Download How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter to your Kindle in seconds for only £3.53 ($5.73).

Here’s extract 17 from How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter: your chance to learn more about the way your child learns to talk.
If you’d like to get in touch, maybe with a question on babies, toddlers and language development, or any communication topic, feel free to email me through the Contact Me tab at the top of the blog. Questions you ask may find their way (anonymously) into the new Frequently Asked Questions page. find it by clicking the tap at the top of the page.

If you’re a new reader, CLICK HERE to read How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter from the very beginning.This link takes you to the first post, so you can read the extracts in sequence. At the end of each week’s post you’ll see a link to take you on to the next extract. I try to post every Friday, by noon GMT.

Here are two more games to play with your child, to help him understand language. These are both sorting games. They help him explore the relationship between different objects, their similarities adn differences. They also your child move from recognising real objects and toys to pictures, an important step in learning about symbols. Understanding symbols underpins his languge skills, and also, later, his ability to learn to read.

Understanding activities: sorting
Help him sort things into boxes. Collect a wide range of toys and pictures. Make sure you include things that look different but have the same name. Include a red sock, a short sock, a long sock, a picture of a sock and a dirty sock, to go in one box, for example. Different kinds of pencils, or brushes, or books will go in the other boxes.
Sort them into the boxes with him, using the objects’ names and discussing how they are the same and how they are different.  Point out that all the socks have a toe and a heel, but that one sock is longer, or cleaner, or a different colour than the other one.
Understanding activities: post box
When you’ve played many times with real objects or small toys, start to introduce pictures for some of your games. Here’s a game to boost his understanding of different objects and their word labels.
Many words fit into pairs of opposites. “Hot” is the opposite of “cold” and “high” is the opposite of “low”. Learning to recognise the contrasts between these characteristics helps your child establish important ideas such as size, shape, number and volume. 
 
This simple sorting game helps him learn about ‘big’ and  ‘small’, ‘fat’ and ‘thin’, ‘high’ and ‘low’. 
Make two post boxes out of old cardboard boxes by cutting holes in the front.  
Collect pictures that show opposites, using the concepts of size and height. Make sure you have several pictures of each kind of item and that the big items are very clearly much bigger than the small ones. Big things should fill the whole page, while small things should sit right in the middle with plenty of plain space around them.
Select two pictures, for example, a big face and a small face. Play a posting game, by putting the big face in one box and the small face in the other. 
Move on to pictures of fat things and thin things, open things and closed things, and play the game again.
Avoid introducing more than one concept at a time: spend several sessions on big and small, and then wait a while before moving on to fat and thin.
Later, you can begin to introduce the idea of some big things being even bigger than other big things. Point things out in the street and keep the conversation going. 
Your child learns to understand big and very big, before he can manage big and bigger.

If you’re finding these extracts useful, and can’t wait to read the rest of the ebook, just BUY NOW. Download How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter to your Kindle in seconds for only £3.53 ($5.73).

Help Your Child Talk: Three Top Tips To Help Your Toddler Understand More Easily

Here’s extract 16 from How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter: your chance to learn more about the way your child learns to talk.
If you’d like to get in touch, maybe with a question on babies, toddlers and language development, or any communication topic, feel free to email me through the Contact Me tab at the top of the blog. 

If you’re a new reader, CLICK HERE to read How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter from the very beginning.This link takes you to the first post, so you can read the extracts in sequence. At the end of each week’s post you’ll see a link to take you on to the next extract. I try to post every Friday, by noon GMT.
Understanding activities: variety
Let your child have access to many different situations. Seeing a real duck in the park is worth a library full of pictures of ducks. Give him the opportunity to experience things in a range of places.
Parks, libraries, the back garden and shops are all places for him to see and experience a whole new world of new sights, sounds, sensations, smells and tastes. 
Everything is new and interesting to a young child. Try to leave plenty of time in your day for him to see and handle. Allow twice as long for a shopping trip as you think you need, so you can talk to him about everything that catches his interest. He’ll learn so much more quickly.
Understanding activities: simplicity
Talk to him in simple sentences. If he misunderstands, it means your sentences are too long or complicated. Say the same thing again, in a simpler way, perhaps using two sentences with a pause in between. That gives him time to process the first word or two and understand them properly, before you say the next phrase. 
Remember how you feel when you hear someone speak in a foreign language, especially one that you learned at school. You often wish they would just slow down and let you catch up. Your child feels like that when you bombard him with too much language for him to manage.
Understanding activities: word position
Put a new word at the end of a sentence, as this helps him to pay it more attention. “Look at the dog,” is better than “There’s a dog over there.”

If you’re finding these extracts useful, and can’t wait to read the rest of the ebook, just BUY NOW. Download How To Help Your Child Talk and Grow Smarter to your Kindle in seconds for only £3.53 ($5.73).

Storytelling for Toddlers: Help Your Child Talk With His Own Stories

Twitter buddies have been tweeting about bedtime stories. Most toddlers seem to like the made up ones best. 

Sometimes,  mums and dads worry about whether they can make up ‘good enough’ stories. So to prove how easy it is, here’s one I prepared earlier.

Kids love repetition and it helps them learn language skills. This story is as simple as can be. Start it off, and your toddler will soon join in.

Go ahead and add your own variations, using your own child’s name. 

You’ll soon find your own stories are better!


Aunt Jemima’s Cakes


Nick woke up one morning feeling excited. His Aunt Jemima was coming to tea. 

“She likes cakes” he thought. “We’ll have cakes for tea.” Nick liked cakes, too! “I’ll go to the shops straight away.” 

And he ran off, forgetting to make a list of the things he would need. 


He ran as fast as he could, and bought some flour. He ran home again and put it in his mixing bowl. 

“Oh dear,” he said. “I bought the flour but I forgot the chocolate.”

He ran back to the shop and bought some chocolate. He ran home again and put it in his mixing bowl. 

“Oh dear, ” he said. “I bought the flour and the chocolate but I forgot the butter.”


He ran back to the shop and bought some butter. He ran home again and put it in his mixing bowl.

“Oh dear,” he said. “I bought the flour and the chocolate and the butter but I forgot the eggs.”

He ran back to the shop and bought the eggs… and so on. You get the picture!

Keep going, adding new items for the cakes and repeating them all in a list each time.

Finally, go for a big finish.

At last Nick was very hot and tired, but he had all the things he needed for Aunt Jemima’s cakes. He had the flour, the chocolate, the eggs, the milk, the sugar ….etc.

He made the cakes, then looked at the calendar.

“Oh bother” he said. “Aunt Jemima isn’t coming today at all – she’s coming next week.”

“Never mind, I’ll just have to eat all the cakes myself.”


And so he did. 

…………….




What stories do your toddlers like? I’d love to know. Use the contact me button to get in touch or just leave a comment on the blog.