She spoke in sentences at just over a year old. He didn’t say a word till he was two. But since the moment I knew they were in my growing belly – we were communicating. From baby bump to birth to back-pack, you have been communicating with your child too! Talking, singing, reading, making random sounds, whistling, humming – whatever your style – you have been expressing your love and commitment to your kids from day one – and they have been listening and learning.
Try some ideas from our TOP 10 list of practical things you can do to enhance your child’s communication and language:
- Talk with your kids – a lot! Be sure to make eye contact when you talk together. Use simple, clear language and avoid baby talk.
- Encourage and teach your kids to use words to express and identify their feelings. Non-verbal communication is important too! Show your child how you feel with facial expressions and gestures.
- Read with your kids – a lot! Read books you enjoy, in your first language. Help your child relate the book you read to their world. Talk about, show, point to, and label words you read together.
- Check for signs of hearing or speech concerns and consult your doctor, local EarlyON Child and Family Centre, the Halton Region or a DEIPP clinic for support.
- Visit the library together and select books to read at home such as Koala Lou by Mem Fox or Amos’s Sweater by Janet Lunn. Your local libraries have online “read aloud” selections – visit the Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville library websites.
- Sing along with the radio, make up a song together or share a fun or silly song from your childhood. Use actions that go along with the song!
- Recite nursery rhymes and play rhyming games together.
- Ask your kids to tell you a story using the pictures in the book – feel free to experiment with the words and images in the books you share. Have fun with reading!
- Encourage your kids to talk to you and tell you a story – about anything at all.
- Limit your family’s use of technology or “screen time” such as TV, video games and computers.
Remember, you are not alone! Be sure to check out our “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, GO!” pages for lots of handy info, checklists and workshops for parents. If your child has not attended nursery school, preschool or child care, our EvenStart program is a fantastic way to prepare them for the daily routine and structure of kindergarten.
For more tips and hints about your preparing your child for kindergarten, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call HaltonParents by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
About this guest blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a Public Health Nurse specializing in Preschool Health and Parenting with the Halton Region’s Early Years Health Program. She is an accredited Triple P Positive Parenting Program individual counsellor and trained facilitator in both Nobody’s Perfect and Beyond the Basics. She is also co-author and facilitator of Halton’s Parenting Basics group curriculum. A busy, working mom, Paula believes in living healthy and relishes her “live, love and laugh” time with her young family.