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Supporting your child’s learning through language

Top tips

Here are our top tips for supporting your child’s learning and development simply through what you say, how you say it and when you say it.

  1. Give children time to respond – if you’ve asked them a question give them 5-10 seconds, which feels like a long time in silence, but persevere. Even children who can’t talk yet will learn that conversation has a to and fro pattern by you doing this.
  2. Ask open ended questions as they encourage your child’s cognitive skills. Questions that start with things like ‘I wonder if’ ‘What do you think’, ‘How does this work’ encourage higher order thinking skills in a way that simple yes/no questions don’t.
  3. It’s easy to fall into the trap of asking children lots of questions; questions are great but they need to be balanced with comments. A 4:1 balance of comments to questions is recommended to support children’s language development.
  4. Extend children’s vocabulary as opportunities naturally arise e.g. if they come to you wielding a toy and saying ‘dinosaur’ you can introduce new vocabulary this into saying ‘Yes, look at that enormous, ferocious dinosaur’.
  5. Keep language positive. If they mispronounce or muddle up a sentence, don’t directly correct them, just role model how to say the sentence or word correctly.