Typically, infancy and early childhood are periods of intense development in all areas of communication. Specialists in early childhood communication development study the following components of communication: sound use (phonology), the symbolic use of words and sentences (morphology and syntax), the acquisition of meaningful vocabulary (semantics), and the use of language in a social context (pragmatics).
Activities To Do at Home
- Listen to environmental sounds with your child (water running, doorbell, airplanes, traffic). Have fun labeling what made the sound, imitate the sounds, and play guessing games about what made a particular sound.
- Imitate what your child says and expand her/his comment by adding one piece of information. For example: child says, “Doggie”; adult says, “Doggie. The dog says woof, woof.” Child says “Bird flying,” adult says, “The bird is flying. Birds have wings.”
- Read repetitive, rhythmic and rhyming books with your child for example, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Inside a Barn in the Country, Cat in the Hat, and Dinosaur Roar.
- Practice taking turns in a variety of activities, motor imitation, sound making, and “conversation.”
- Be a good listening and turn-taking model for your child.
- Play “treasure hunt” with your child. Hide something, then give clues to where it can be found.
- Play listening and remembering games. For example, go pretend grocery shopping. Give your child a basket and instructions on what to buy. “We need bread and apples,” or “Get grapes, hot dogs, and ice-cream.”
- Let your child help with household tasks, talking your way through the task. For example: “To set the table we need plates, cups, forks, …”
- Let your child help you sort and categorize common objects. For example, folding and putting laundry away. “Socks go in this drawer, pants go in this drawer.”
- Talk about the past, the present and the future. “This morning we ate pancakes for breakfast. Now, we’ll take a nap. Tomorrow we’ll go to the zoo.”
- Give your child verbal warnings of upcoming transitions.
- Show pleasure in listening to your child. Take time out daily to talk and listen to him/her.