Babies and toddlers are keen at learning all the time, even when they seem not to be doing much. Knowing how to interact and how it helps them with their listening, understanding, talking and making sounds is important for parents. We have borrowed some ubiquitous technology terms to run you through these tips! Do you Facetime, sign-in, kindle with your child??!! Here is a fun way way to talk you through the most important foundation tips:
- Have Real-time FaceTime– FaceTime is a popular technology term and it really fits well in the context of talking to babies!! When you are face to face with your baby, it is known to release feel good hormones wanting your baby to look at you all the more!! Your babies will love to watch your mouth, facial expressions and also help them feel secure when you hold them close to your face. Have a chat by holding your baby close to your face. For toddlers, get down to their level while talking to them about anything that strikes their interest.
- iTune:Tune in to your child’s play – Tune in or join in to make your baby or toddler feel interested in them and their play. Often times, parents of babies do this on hearing the baby cry. This is critical to make them feel secure and understand their needs. As toddlers begin to make a variety of speech sounds, tuning in helps to initiate a reciprocal (back and forth) communication with them. For example, tune in to the sounds your baby makes, imitate them and they will in turn try to imitate the sounds you make. By tuning in to your child’s eye contact, facial expressions, sounds and gestures, you are enhancing non-verbal communication which makes up for about 80% of communication. Tuning in can help your child concentrate better, you get an opportunity to copy his/her actions and add more to it. With toddlers, you can simply add an extra word to what they say and help them expand their language. This way you are enriching their listening and understanding of actions and words.
- Sign-in– Signing to babies strengthens motor pathways in the brain, enhances visual development and reduces frustration. Using baby signs and using a lot of gestures while talking to your baby can strengthen your bond, encourage communication and make your interaction fun! Best of all, it enhances the bond between you and your baby. There are many books and videos on ‘baby signs’. Learning to sign is really easy because most of the signs are natural gestures. If babies have to understand signs, it must always be accompanied with eye contact, being close to their face, facial expressions and most importantly you should say the word you sign. If you take to baby signing gradually, you will be amazed at your baby’s sign vocabulary and communication skills. Generally, even if you are not using baby signs, simply using a lot of facial expressions and gestures/actions help them understand and remember the newly learnt words.
- Kindle your child’s interest – Get chatty and help your child in learning new words by talking or commenting about what you are doing with them. Turn feeding, bathing and changing times into talking times. It does not always require you to set aside some special time to talk to your babies, toddlers and young children. There is an immense amount of learning opportunity for kids when they are involved in their daily routines. It is in fact in the context of daily routines that children understand and associate the words they hear in relation to their function in their daily routines. You can talk about what you are seeing, hearing, doing and even thinking. If you are cooking, tell them about it, “Mummy is kneeding the dough’, “I am rolling the dough into small circles”, “I am now going to make small rotis” and so on. This is called ‘self-talk’, an important strategy to enhance learning and communication. Likewise, you can also take the role of a ‘commentator’ by commenting on what your baby is doing, seeing or feeling. So, when your baby is building a tower with blocks, you can say, “Oh! That is a tall tower! I can see red, blue and white blocks”. This strategy of commenting is called ‘parallel talk’.
- LinkedIn– Help your child to link or string words together. Add more words to what your child says, this way your child will learn new words. Also, repeat the words you use in different routines, it will help them remember. Linking more words is a way of re-wording a child’s utterance which may seem short or incomplete. For example, when your child says, “cat drinking milk”, you can link more words to what your child already said by saying “The fat cat is drinking milk” or “The hungry cat is drinking milk”.
Which one of the above is your favourite technology buzzword? Get real-time techie, get chatty!!