Updated: Nov 8, 2019
As in free and we need to talk to each other, family, friends and most of all our kids, non stop, about everything. My wee one is talking, it's not English but boy does she have a lot to say! She yells at her brothers when they wander off and she's not finished with them ... She points and says what she thinks is the right noise to what she needs. She is forming words , like Dada and Mummy and No! ( why do they say no first , I don't say it that to her much but she tells me off when she doesn't like something ) She has the right intonation in her voice and pitch , which is lovely to hear. And she understands English , more than she should almost. Ill say to her, time for bed, go get teddy and off she trots collects up everything she needs and waits at the stair gate to go up ! She knew exactly what I meant. It is incredible !
Which leads to me to know that the next step is, her answering back and answering back ! But even though I know that gem is coming, it is still important to teach them how to communicate. And the power we as parents have, is to get it right. If you think about it, these trusting souls will believe us completely if we tell them that the sky is green ! Oh how we could mess with them ...... But no, it is up to us to help them discover their world and label it. Start small , like them , they need to know the things that they need to know. Cup, plate, high chair, cat, toys, etc, as they pick it up tell them what it is called, over and over! Look them directly in the eye , touch the item, get them to touch it. My wee one is looking at her teddy and touching its eyes, I say eyes, eyes, eyes and touch hers and mine. They want to learn , so they can tell you what they need to know by giving them all your tools to do it. Talk directly to them, ask them to do something , like hold your hand, give you something , then show them by doing it yourself. I pass a ball between her and I and she got the concept quickly. They are at the this stage of development learning about 'I' ( self ) that they exist and are separate from you. Tell them their name over and over while touching them.
Art of conversation, this is another one that is important, to fit in to family life and to the speech of it too. Have them eating with you at meal times so they watch and learn the flow of conversation , include them in it, especially if they are trying to do that themselves. But don't stop doing what you re doing if they suddenly start yelling for attention , thats just teaching to push in and talk over you , not something that you want to plant the seed for later. But they will want to say things to you , and a whole sentence will come out... not English but inflections, tone, rises and lowers of voice, full stops and everything and you need to answer, in English and acknowledge their contribution. When they hand you something and tell you about it , you need to reply and tell them back something , heck it can be the weather report but just speaking back encourages them to continue and soon it will be your chosen language.
Which takes me nicely in to multitasking... teach another language if you can. If you have been lucky enough to learn and retain or exposed at an early age yourself to another language , pass it on pronto. Make one of you in the household the English speaker and the other what ever. Your child has the brain capacity to not only learn both at once but to be able to separate and reply to each of you in your chosen language. The upside to this is bi lingual and the down side is they take longer to actually verbalise both languages due to double the load, so don't fret, if they seem slower , they are doing twice the work!
What ever you say, and what ever language its in, just don't stop. And remember the best words of all to say and to hear is I love you !! Repeat repeat and repeat. The tone that you say them to a loved one has been proved to release oxytocin in the brain. So get down to their level , hold a part of them say hand or arm. Turning on multiple senses helps them to learn. So they are watching your mouth, hearing your voice and feeling your touch and say it as much as you can. Speak to them , have conversations around them and listen to them. Communication is key to so many levels of your relationship with your children. It starts from the first words and kisses and hugs you share. Channels and trust need to flow both ways. In no time at all they will talk to you. And then there is no going back or getting word in edgeways ..