Your child has always been communicating with you, since birth.
The transition from sounds to sentences is sequential and the speed depends on each child.
Ideally, children need to learn by interaction and not memorisation – they observe and formulate their own rules for instance they say ‘I goed’ instead of I went or ‘I bringed’ instead of I brought. More than just interaction, the quality of interaction is crucial.
The environment plays a very important role in language learning and development.
An environment that is language-rich helps a child to acquire language faster and better.
What is a language rich environment?
A language rich environment is one which is nurturing and purposefully designed to provide the child with opportunities to listen to and use all forms of language (verbal and nonverbal). It is one in which the caregivers talk to children using a wide vocabulary, provide opportunities to take turns, to share a focus and ask and answer questions.
Children’s brains require time to process and learn anything new, it is therefore important to talk slower, use simple words & short sentences, pay attention to them and use affirming words. This will help encourage your toddler. It helps in increasing their self-confidence which in turn helps their language development.
A little help with choosing toys for your kids to facilitate a language rich environment:
Parents and caregivers are often stumped for what toys their child needs as they go through each developmental stage. Here are some basic principles that might help with your choice of toys:
• Look for toys that help your child to learn new things and develop new skills.
• Toys that have a purpose may help your child to understand different concepts (for example, if a child has to push a button or pull a lever to make the toy move/pop up or make lights flash). These are often called cause and effect toys.
• Toys that have an interesting shape, feel nice to touch or are attractive to look at (with bright colours or flashing lights) can be interesting to your child and can provide opportunities for a lot of vocabulary.
• Toys that allow your child to play 'make believe' or ‘pretend play’ games, such as kitchen sets, doll houses, doctor sets, play tea sets and shops help to stimulate their imagination, creativity, problem solving, reasoning and even help develop their social-emotional skills. These toys may also help them to understand different kinds of real-life situations and help them find ways to navigate difficult situations.
• The important thing to remember is that toys should be fun and be enjoyable for your child.
However, please remember that books and stories are the best form time spent together and fostering language development. It is not important to buy a vast range of toys, most of the above can be achieved by using simple materials available at home.