Encouraging your child’s language development through the holidays
6 ways to help your child’s language development
Parents, and family, play a critical role in a child’s language development. During this busy holiday season, encouraging your child’s developmental needs can seem overwhelming. Keep in mind that the holiday season is filled with natural opportunities to encourage your child’s language development. Here are some fun ways to nurture your child’s development this holiday season.
- Bake cookies together! Cooking is a great life skill and a wonderful way to encourage language development at any age. Make a list of the ingredients needed for your favourite cookies and take that list to the grocery store. Together you can talk about, and even write out, the steps needed to make your cookies, e.g., 1) roll out the dough, 2) cut out cookies, 3) put cookies on a baking tray, etc. After your cookies are made, share them with other family member and encourage your child to share how they were made.
- Include your child in decorating your house for the holidays! As you decorate your home, include your child and encourage the use of descriptive words, e.g., shiny, red, sparkly, when describing your decorations. Ask your child WH-questions about how to decorate the house, e.g., Where do you want to put this? What goes next? The questions (i.e., who, what, where, when, why) will encourage conversations about your activities together.
- Making holiday crafts together. Whether you are making paper snowflakes or painting ornaments, talk about what you are doing in sequence, e.g., first we’ll do ____ and then we’ll do ____. Encourage your child to use this “first/then” vocabulary to describe what they are doing as well.
- Sing holiday songs! Sing your favourite songs quickly or very slowly…make it fun! Use hand motions and gestures when you sing. Talk about the words in the songs that rhyme. Substitute other rhyming words into the songs you sing just for fun. Be silly and you may make up some new family favourites!
- Visit the library and read books about the holidays or winter. Your local library most likely has created displays and collections of children’s books for the season. As you read, point to pictures on the page and ask your child questions about what’s happening in the story. With favourite storybooks, ask your child to share those stories and retell them to other family members.
- Take digital photographs during special family events and all of the above activities. This way you’ll be creating a visual diary of your time together and these photos can be used by your child to tell your family’s holiday stories.
Have questions about your child’s language development? Our Speech Language Pathologists can help.
- ‘Raising a bilingual child: The top five myths” webinar’ – a webinar and video with Dr. Caroline Eros and Morneau Shepell
- Download our Bilingual/Multilingual handout here as well.
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