Prepare an environment that provides opportunities for language enrichment
- Make trips out and about to enrich his vocabulary: the zoo, the park, the playground, the neighbour's house, the car wash, the supermarket, the library etc. On a walk along the road he might see a stop sign, a crosswalk, an oak tree, a dandelion, a delivery truck, a curb, etc.
Connect your child to opportunities for language enrichment
- Ask open-ended questions that lead into conversation, like ‘How did you fall off the slide?’ or ‘Why was grandpa so excited?’ The what, when, and where questions help him learn how to phrase questions and how to engage in longer conversations.
- Don’t shy away from specific language, which may be your area of interest or your profession. The language of biology, music, art, science, mathematics, and health has appeal to a young child. Once he knows the category of ‘birds’, for example, he may enjoy the specific words such as ‘a gull’, ‘blackbird’, ‘sparrow’.
- Tell stories from life, not only from books. A simple bedtime story recounts the events of the day. Your child will love the detail. ‘You woke up, got dressed with your green trousers and dinosaur shirt, brushed your teeth, and....’
- Encourage your child to tell stories. ‘When you were at the beach you liked to run away from the waves. The tips of the waves were white with foam. Do you remember what happened next?’ You can use photos to help tell these true stories and prompt your child’s story.
Make time for conversation
- From age two to three your child is ready to expand beyond the home. Make time for trips and outings in the neighbourhood as well as social experiences. As he becomes more comfortable expressing himself, he will be able to have longer conversations. He will learn how to ask for what he wants and meet new people with confidence. Special interests may emerge, such as a passion for vehicles, fruits, birds, or flowers. Our children influence our interests, and when we really listen to their needs it is an opportunity for us to grow and take the time to learn more about the specific language of their areas of interest.