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Children: Speech and Language Development

March 20, 2009

This is an example of good parents-child interaction. As Myra speaks, her cognitive skill was developing rapidly.

“Interview after the first day of Preschool”

Children start learning at a very young age. There are numerous stages of development for all children. Such stages do not necessary happen one after another. Parts of the most crucial developments are the social and cognitive development, where concurrent development occurs most of the time.

Social Development

Conversations with children improve not just their social skills, but language as well. Children need the attention and nurturing from adults to enhance their self-esteem and sense of worthiness. To help children building their social and cognitive development, plenty of interactions are needed.

Here are a few tips for a good interaction with children:

Adults do not necessary have to engage in a “child conversation” with their young children. Sometimes children want to feel and need to discover their ability to interact in a mature way. Children will also learn proper vocabulary when interacting maturely.

Always ask children open-ended questions to help stimulate their thinking (cognitive) and structuring their words for a sentence (language). Examples of open-ended questions would be:

  • How did you do that?
  • Tell me about your day at school.
  • What is it like?
  • Do you like your new bag? (Next question should be “Why not?” or “What do you like about it?”)

Adults can also offer suggestions and comments while asking, or leading one question to another. This would help children to link topics together (this is how most children are trained into developing various plot ideas, generating a totally new story). Examples of such questions:

  • Did you make any new friends today?
  • What are their names?
  • Do you like them?*
  • Would you want to see them again?

Dedicate all your attention while communicating with children; even adults do not like to be ignored.

Avoid using colloquial language; colloquialism might bring harm to a child’s judgement ability in the proper use of language; affecting (or damaging) both syntax and morphology. This scenario is particularly applicable to many children in Asia. However, such exposure is inevitable. Therefore, parents need to set a good example through their daily communication, and explain where necessary of certain colloquial languages that children might come across to.

Avoid movies that are not healthy to a child’s language development. One must always take note that children are pure and innocent. They are still lacking the ability to make proper judgement, hence adults supervision and daily education is essential.

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner.

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