Tips for Caregivers
1. TIE WORDS TO ACTIONS
(a) Self talk – describing your own actions as you do them. This gives you the opportunity to introduce new words. “I am relaxing my shoulder.” “ I am mixing colour into the play dough.”
(b) Parallel talk – describing the children’s actions as they do them. “You’re squeezing the dough so hard.” “You’re lining up the long blocks.”
2. HELP CHILDREN COMMUNICATE WITHOUT ORAL LANGUAGE
(a) Use pantomime games – act out stories or situations without words. Act out meanings of words.
(b) Use charade games – “Pretend you’re carrying the biggest log you have ever seen.” "Pretend you’re pouring a glass of milk.”
3. MAKE LANGUAGE CLEAR
(a) Be very specific – “Put these red blocks with the other red blocks.”
(b) Look directly at the child when you are talking to him; watch his eyes and you will know if he is following you or is confused.
(c) Be aware of noise level in the room. A high level of noise is detrimental to language development.
(d) Articulate words clearly. “Let’s read that book.” “Thank you.” “Does the dolly’s hat go on her head or on her hand?”
4. HELP CHILDREN THINK IN SEQUENCES
Children need to learn that we often do things in certain order. “We do this then that” – timing and sequence are important parts of life. “What happens if we put our shoes on before our socks?” Give children things to do in order. “Joan, pick up the yellow pencil, put it on my desk, walk around the room two times then close the door.
Sequencing is important in Language and Reading skills.
5. MEET THE MATCH DEVELOPMENT
With youngest children use simple words and phrases for things and actions and increase complexity as child’s language grows. Know where the child is developmentally and move forward as he does – stretch, expand language, but don’t overwhelm.
6. TEACH TIME AND SPACE WORDS
Use objects found in the centre (blocks, dolls, etc.) to talk about space relationships – in front of, behind, over, under, front, back etc. Use objects to talk about comparison – which is bigger, fattest, tallest, etc. Which comes first, second, last?
Stimulate comparison, judgments, evaluations.
7. USE OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
“What could happen if …?” “Tell me all about this?” “What would you see if you were a birdie flying over the school?” “What do we need to bake cookies?” “How could you get the chalk marks off the blackboard?” “Can you tell me how you made your sand castle?”
8. ACTIVATE CHILDREN’S LISTENING SKILLS
Play games where you make “Mistakes” for the children to catch you on. “Simple Simon met a pie man going home to bed!” Children love silly things and looking for your own mistakes makes them listen carefully. “When we wash our clothes do we hang up our watch or wash?” Give different instructions than usual and see if the children catch the difference. Use past and present and future tenses of verbs.
9. KEEP TALK AND ATTITUDES TOWARD LANGUAGE POSITIVE
Use praise – but keep it specific. Keep verbal promises. This helps children learn that adult language can be depended upon.
10. DESCRIBE AND LABEL
Have the children describe and label. Have them taste honey, then put lemon on the honey and have the children describe the difference. Pour water into paint powder and have them describe. Help children make connections between real objects, use food experiences. Then have the children describe how their mummy makes certain foods. Food times are wonderful times for stimulating language.
11. HELP CHILDREN BEGIN TO SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WRITEN AND ORAL LANGUAGE
Help children sign their work – with a letter from their names if able. Children need to begin to see the relationship between squiggles on paper and spoken words.
12. HELP CHILDREN MAKE UP STORIES
About pictures, about things (for example, have a bag with all kinds of keys and let the children choose a key and tell a story about it). Show a picture of a baby and have children tell how they grew from being a baby to now.
13. HAVE CHILDREN RETELL STORIES TO OTHER CHILDREN
This is fun and it is amazing how that story can change as it is retold. Be sure you tell and read lots of stories to children!
14. HAVE CHILDREN DISCUSS FEELINGS
“What happens when you are scared?” “What makes you scared?” (angry, etc.)
15. HELP CHILDREN REASON – TO LEARN CAUSE AND EFFECT
Encourage children to tell you why they do things in a certain way. Have them talk about why this happens when we do that. “How did the little bear know that someone had been sitting in his chair?” – “Because it was all broke down – something big musta sat in it.” “If we finish cleaning up quickly then we can go out to play.”
16. HELP CHILDREN LEARN POSITIVE SOCIAL SKILLS
Teach the magic words of “Please” and “Thank you”. Use these words yourself. Help children to see the feelings that they feel when someone is rude and kind to them. Model courteous ways of talking with children.
17. USE INCONGUITY – MAKE OBVIOUS MISTAKES
Make “silly” mistakes that are obvious. Ask, “Is this my (point to knee) nose?” “Do I have two mouths?” “Do airplanes fly under the water?” Children love silly things.
18. READ TO CHILDREN – IN GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALLY
Read something every day. Have children make up stories that you write down and read back to them. For infants, make up stories to pictures (a ball, a shoe, milk, a baby, a dog, a grandmother). Create a comfortable book corner.
19. USE MUSIC, CHANTS AND RYHTHMS
Make up songs – sing some songs over and over. Rhyme words.
20. LISTEN TO CHILDREN
Encourage them to communicate verbally. Keep children thinking (and talking) – to you and to each other.Remember, language learning is and can be fun.