As soon as the temperature rises, the birds start singing and the squirrels chase each other, a whole new world of language opens up to your child. I am constantly reminded of this as I try to work with kids inside on a wonderful summer day. If we are near a window, invariably the conversation turns to the critters moving around outside.
Little David , 2 years old, is fascinated with the bird nests that were built in the bushes outside his kitchen. No matter what we are doing–painting, blowing bubbles or putting little figures down a play slide, if he remembers the nest, we are headed outside!
Research shows that when you follow your child’s “focus of attention” meaning what they are interested in and talking about, they take in more language. As I stepped outside and followed David’s directives about the nest, worms, babies, and mama, he began to talk more and put some words together like “bird nest.” I climbed up on a patio wall and peeked in the bush to report on the babies being fed by the mom. Then I paused to let David reply. He went on and on, telling me about the bird and nest in his single-word format. It is amazing what one can understand when spoken to that way!
Always remember to pause and let your child respond to what you have described, that he is so interested in. Often, as parents, we tend to keep talking and forget to pause and let our little ones excitedly reply to the situation. If it is of interest, as this bird nest was, you will find your child speaks more and expands on what you have said.