Encouraging infant language development

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Encouraging infant language development

There's some simple things that we can do to encourage language development. One of them is making sure right from the beginning to talk to your baby, tell them what's going on with their life, tell them real things that are happening. We don't have to say, "Oh, look, this is a ball and it's red." What they need to know is, "This is warm water and here's a yellow washcloth and I'm wiping your back with this." That's how they learn language. Because it's a meaningful way to hear it and understand it and it's important to them, they want to know what those things are that are happening. Another way is to let them know that their communication is being heard. So whenever they're making a sound, whenever they're crying, we tell them, "I hear you, I hear you're crying, I'm trying to figure out what you want." When they start to say words, rather than correcting them, accept what they say and just encourage what they say. So if a child sees a rabbit and they think it's a bear and they say, "That's a bear,” instead of saying, "No, no that's a rabbit,” we want to say, "That looks like a bear to you." Or, "You're looking at that bear. You're telling me about that bear." They'll learn the differences and all these things soon enough, but right now we just want to encourage them talking. If we went to another country, we were trying to speak French and we were saying some things wrong, the French probably wouldn't say, "No, it's this, it's that." After everything we said, if they did, we wouldn't want to speak anymore. So we want to encourage language by accepting it and adding on a little more with our sentences so, "Yes that's a ball, it's a big ball isn't it?"

Watch Janet Lansbury's video on Encouraging infant language development...


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Janet Lansbury

RIE Parenting Expert

Janet Lansbury is a parenting advisor, writer and teacher. She has served on the board of directors of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) for over a decade, written childcare articles and been a frequent presenter at early childhood conferences. A former actress/model (Janet Julian), Janet found her true calling when she gave birth to her first child and sought guidance from renowned infant expert Magda Gerber. Inspired and mentored by Gerber in the early 1990s, Janet became a RIE Parent/Infant Guidance Class instructor and has since had the privilege of providing support and guidance to thousands of parents and caregivers throughout Los Angeles. Most recently, she has become a prolific and influential parenting blogger with a worldwide following.

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