Talking and listening
It seems very obvious, but at this stage, one of the best things you can do for your child’s learning is to spend time talking together. They are constantly learning new words and will be exploring ways to build sentences and put words together through trial and error. Encourage eye contact and back-and-forth conversation. Get them talking about the toys they are playing with. Ask them for their opinion about things – what is their favorite piece of equipment to play on in the park and why? Chat together about what you need to buy from the shop and encourage them to help you find items.
Read, read, read
Time spent reading together brings so many benefits to your child – and you! Through reading, your child will hear lots of words that they might not be as likely to come across in everyday conversation. They will also develop their listening skills and develop their understanding of how stories work. Rhythm and rhyme are so important for early language development and, luckily, there are masses of wonderful books available. Encourage your child to talk about the pictures, or to make predictions about what will happen next…
There’s no reason reading should be limited to stories, either – why not encourage your child to recognize and read print when you are out shopping, on the bus, or at the park?
Songs and rhymes
Have lots of fun singing songs and nursery rhymes together. Don’t worry about how good your singing voice is! Singing songs and saying rhymes can help your child to develop early language skills.
Have fun with numbers by singing counting songs, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … Once I caught a fish alive
Numbers on the go
Point out the numbers you see when you are out and about and encourage your child to do the same. Look for bus numbers, prices, and house numbers. When shopping, ask your child to select the number of apples or bananas you need – they’re helping you out and learning at the same time.
Dressing up and role play are great opportunities for talking and listening and for imaginative play. On a practical level, a fun dressing up session can help your child to practice getting themselves dressed. You can fit in a sneaky bit of training with those tricky zips, armholes, and button