Baby Language Development in Child Care
Research shows that the more a child is spoken to on a regular basis, the more vocabulary she hears in her household, the more words she will develop. Here are some techniques that either you or the babysitter can use to stimulate speech and language development, enriching your daughter's vocabulary so she becomes better able to express her desires and feelings and to contribute to the family:
- Play interactive games: Have a treasure hunt, looking for objects. When your daughter finds an object, she has to say it name out loud. Play fishing box. Start by make a fishing rod with a magnet at the end of a string as the fishing rod. Cut out paper fish and put a paper clip on each one. When you "go fishing," have your child try pull each fish up and put it in a "tackle box." Describe what you and your child are doing. Use different-colored fish and, as each fish is "caught," ask your daughter to name each color.
- Read storybooks and ask questions such as, "Where is Spot? What is Spot doing?"
- Engage in play and pretend games such as "horsy ride," "going shopping" or "a pirate's ship adventure."
- Engage in rhythm games like "Pat-a-Cake," "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands" and "Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap."
- Take a walk in nature. Describe the sights, colors, sounds, smells, etc.
- Go to a park and play on the swings, labeling the items in the playground and describing the way the playground equipment moves. Describe actions ("Hold tight!" "You're swinging back and forth!") and ask questions ("Is it going fast or slow?" "Are you going up or down?").
If your daughter is unable to name objects at first, always remember that the adult is the language and speech model, and it is from this model that language and speech will emerge.
Your babysitter can do any or all of these things with your daughter, as well. Guide the babysitter to read to your daughter, to sing and interact with her. Limit the amount of television viewing allowed each day so that your daughter's brain can be stimulated while she's having fun.
One note: If your sitter does not speak your primary language, you may need to change sitters or—if you want your child to learn another language—you must be prepared for the delay that may occur as your daughter tries to learn two languages at one time.