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Building your child's understanding day-to-day

A child learns language by listening to us every day. Developing language is complex and includes learning about vocabulary (things, actions), sentences (how words are related to each other), and concepts (in, under, after). A child has to understand these words and ideas before they can say them.

As a caregiver, you probably don't realize how much teaching you are doing already in your day-to-day routines. For example, consider all the elements involved in telling our child to "put the diaper in the garbage":

1. First, you've taught that this is something called a "diaper"

2. That "garbage" is something for soiled and unwanted things

3. That when something is "in", it is in the physical space of something else

4. That "put" is something we do to bring one thing somewhere else

5. And finally, that this sentence means to combine all those into one smooth action.

Giving instructions like these in your daily routines and play time is a great way to improve your child's understanding of language, but it can be overwhelming to think of what to say and when. We can help!

Here are some ideas of instructions and how you can use them. We hope that this can help you see how much you already are doing without realizing it, and how much you can keep doing to maximize your child's learning opportunities.

Your child may need to hear and see you do it multiple times before being able follow your instruction on their own. Here are some things you can do to help your child if they do not seem to understand your instruction:

a) lead the child to the place you talked about (i.e., the kitchen, the chair, the garbage)

b) point at what you’re talking about

c) show the child the action as you repeat the instruction and then let them try

If you would like more support, or if you have concerns about your child's understanding, you can reach us at

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