Have you ever thought about how the language you use around your child and with your child directly relates to how well they do in school? Oral language and vocabulary development are integral components and predictors of success in reading. With the holidays coming now is the perfect time to think creatively about how to actively engage your child in meaningful interactions to encourage language and vocabulary development. Here are a few ideas to encourage meaningful language development and fun memories.
Involve them in the decision making for what type of food/desserts or decorations to add to the celebration.
Have them create the shopping list and bring them along to help do the shopping.
For younger children give them a list with 4 or 5 pictured items that they are responsible to find.
Involve them in preparing and the clean up of making the food/decorations. While doing this make sure you are talking about the experience in the moment.
During the celebration be sure to tell everyone that your child helped. If there are plans to buy gifts for your children, I challenge you to find items that will encourage creativity. The best toys that provide the most language exposure are toys that allow your child to use them in a variety of different ways, (i.e. blocks, art supplies, playdough, dress-up costumes, or any toys/objects that encourage pretend play). For older children think about science kits, toy model cars or planes, fashion kits, etc. You are your child’s best teacher.
Valerie Fisher, Mainstream Outreach Coordinator
St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf