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LDA’s Early Childhood Committee feels quality — not quantity — is what matters. They know how difficult it is for busy parents to set aside whole blocks of time every day to focus only on their child.
So they suggest ten minutes of an activity that can take place at home, in the car, or grocery store. Make it an activity your child can look forward to, and treat it as your special time together. And make it happen consistently.
Foundations for the understanding and use of language are laid early, so talking to children should take place beginning immediately. Talking and bonding provide the beginnings of the give and take for social and language development.
Look daily for these language opportunities. For example:
- Find a picture that shows action — have your child tell you about the picture.
- Play the matching game. You might start with pictures on a card — one object on each card. Match one picture with another that is the same. The child needs to name the object and not just find it. When pictures are not available, use two objects around the house: plates, colors socks, anything that is handy. They can match and name. Or ask them to touch and name. Or let them play being the teacher.
- Pictures of wild animals (pets, toys, farm animals) — have child describe them, make their sound, tell where they live. Or use anything around the house as a target object.
- Pictures of buildings (houses, banks, churches, schools, post office) — ask child to tell you what takes place in each building; who will they find in such a building? This can be done when you’re driving!
- Find interestingly shaped objects around the house (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) and ask about the “circle”. Talk about feeling the edge, it’s round. Do the same with other objects that are round. Then have the child pick out more objects that are round. When the child’s knowledge of “circle” is firm, add a second shape and go through a similar routine.
Enjoy these activities with your child and you’ll be setting a firm foundation of language skills for the future student.
source: LDA Newsbriefs May/June 2009; “Take Time for Ten With Your Child” by the LDA Early Childhood Committee. www.lda.org
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