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Language – the window to development

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We all know the popular saying that the eyes are the window to the soul, but language might just be the most important window that needs to be wide open when it comes to childhood development. No matter how strong people can become when you look at physicality, the most powerful tool they will ever have is a good command of language.

As we are well aware, language skills are not something that come naturally and need to be developed and nurtured from a very young age. Clear and effective communication are critical when it comes to successful interactions and understanding of various experiences. Research has proven that children learn to speak or understand language from television, radio and songs alone. To master a language does not mean that children will be non-stop chatterboxes, it also helps them to express their emotions and deal with their feelings. Something simple as a concept of distinguishing between hot and cold all depends on expressive language.

  • Talking with your child

Talk to your baby and treat them as an experienced talker, beginning in their first year. When you finish talking, give them a turn and wait for them to respond – and there is no doubt that they will. And when your child starts babbling, copy your baby and babble back. You’ll probably find that they babble back at you again. This keeps the talking going and is great fun.

  • Responding to your child

As your baby grows up and starts to use gestures, you can respond to his attempts to communicate. For example, if your child shakes their head, respond as if they are saying ‘No’. If they point to a toy, respond as if your child is saying, ‘Can I have that?’ or ‘I like that’. When your child starts using words, you can repeat and build on what your child says. For example, if they says, ‘Apple,’ you can say, ‘You want a red apple?’ When you tune in and respond to your child, it encourages them to communicate. You’ll be amazed at how much they have to say, even before words are properly developed.

  • Everyday talking

Talking about what’s happening in your daily life together is a great way to increase the number of words your child hears. You can talk about things that make sense to them, like what they are seeing or doing – the key is to use lots of different words and in different contexts.

The more a young brain is stimulated with appropriate experiences, the better prepared children are for mastering the wonderful tool of language. In fact, research reveals that language and brain development are intricately related, one nourishing the other, especially during early childhood!








Language – the window to development


Inge Liebenberg




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