Every child is unique and should be allowed to develop at his own pace.
Remember – knowledge is not given, it is built and the child needs to build his knowledge as he progresses from simple to complex skills.
Children need to develop holistically – cognitively (intellectually), socially, emotionally and physically. A few suggestions on how to enhance development in each area:
Parents can assist the child to develop listening and speaking skills, which, in turn, lays the foundation for reading and writing, in the following ways:
• Answer his questions whilst giving him your full attention. Provide a scaffold for his learning by extending it.
For example, a child may ask why a bee visits a flower.
This will lead to an answer and an extension of that answer by explaining a little more.
Instead of answering “To drink nectar”, take it a little further and explain about the transfer of pollen to another flower.
Answer according to the age of the child.
• Take your child on outings to broaden his knowledge of the world and his vocabulary.
• Discuss shared experiences such as a trip to the beach/zoo/a viewed TV program.
• Read to your child daily.
Try making bedtime 10 minutes earlier to allow time for stories to be read or told. Reading to a child is an incredible tool for concentration and language development.
Ask questions after the story. To stimulate the thinking process, whilst telling the story stop and ask questions such as, “I wonder why …?” “What do you think is going to happen?” “Why do you think …?”
• Make a scrapbook of memories with your child.
There could be pictures of an outing the family went on, a birthday party, a special event, different members of the family and extended family, friends or different places visited.
Discuss the pictures with your child.
You will often find him repeating your exact words as he discusses the pictures with someone else.
• Stimulate his thinking process and his language development by pointing simple things out to him such as – the light goes on when a switch is pressed; the bath water goes down the plug; the strength of an ant who carries away crumbs which are bigger than his body. Let him ask the “Why?” ”How?” “Where?” questions. This will appeal to the child with the logical-mathematical intelligence as he usually enjoys analysing things.
• Listening to poems and songs are an enjoyable way to extend language. Make up silly songs or rhymes together.
It’s so good for parents and children to laugh together!
This will appeal to the child with a linguistic intelligence as they love words and poetry!
Should your child not speak fluently, have a lisp or mispronounce words at this age, may I suggest a hearing test and an assessment by a Speech Therapist.