(866) 267-3691

Chatting with Children

For children ages 1 to 6

Continue talking with your older child as you did with your baby.

Talking helps him learn language skills and lets him know what he says is important.

What To Do
The first activities in the list below work well with younger children. As your child grows older, the later activities let him do more. But keep doing the first ones as long as he enjoys them.

Talk with your toddler often. When feeding and bathing and dressing him, ask him to name or find different objects or clothing. Point out colors, sizes, and shapes.

Talk with your child as you read together. Point to pictures and name what is in them. When he is ready, ask him to do the same.

Teach your toddler to be a helper by asking him to find things. When cooking in the kitchen, give him pots and pans or measuring spoons to play with. Ask him what he is doing and answer his questions.

Whatever you do together, talk about it with your child. When you eat meals, take walks, go to the store, or visit the library, talk with each other. These and other activities give the two of you a chance to ask and answer questions. "Which flowers are red? Which are yellow?" "What else do you see in the garden?" Challenge your child by asking questions that need more than a "Yes" or "No" answer.

Talking and having conversations play a necessary part in helping a child's language skills grow.

Listen to your child's questions patiently and answer them just as patiently. If you don't know the answer, have him join you as you look it up in a book. He will then see how important books are as sources of information.

Talk about books you have read together. Ask about favorite parts and answer your child's questions about events or characters.

Have your child tell you a story. Then ask him questions, explaining that you need to understand better.

When he is able, ask him to help you in the kitchen. He could set the table or decorate a batch of cookies. A first-grader may enjoy helping you follow a simple recipe. Talk about what you're fixing, what you're cooking with, what he likes to eat, and more.

Ask yourself if the TV is on too much. If so, turn it off and talk!

As Simple as ABC

For children ages 2 to 6

Sharing the alphabet with your child helps him begin to recognize the shapes of letters and link them with sounds. He will soon learn the difference between individual letters what they look like and what they sound like.

Try To Find :

  • Alphabet books (see Resources)
  • Glue and safety scissors
  • Paper, pencils, crayons, markers
  • ABC magnets

What To Do

The first activities in the list below work well with younger children. As your child grows older, the later activities let him do more. But keep doing the first ones as long as he enjoys them.

With your toddler by your side, print the letters of his name on paper and say each letter as you write it. Make a name sign for his room or other special places. Have him decorate the sign by pasting stickers or drawing on it.

Teach your child the alphabet song and play games using the alphabet. Some alphabet books have songs and games you can learn together.

Look for educational videos and TV shows that feature letter learning activities for young children, such as "Sesame Street." Watch such programs with your child and join in on the rhymes and songs.

Place alphabet magnets on your refrigerator or another smooth, safe metal surface. Ask your child to name the letters he plays with and the words he may be trying to spell.

Wherever you are with your child, point out certain letters in signs, billboards, posters, food containers, books, and magazines. When he is 3 to 4 years old, ask him to begin finding and naming some letters.

When you show your child letters and words over and over again, he will identify and use them more easily when learning to read and write. He will be eager to learn when the letters and words are connected to things that are part of his life. "Nanook" means polar bear in the Inupiaq language. The Inupiaq people are one of seven Alaska Native Eskimo groups.

When your child is between ages 3 and 4, encourage him to spell and write his name. For many children, their names are one of the first words they write. At first, he may use just one or two letters (for example, Emile, nicknamed Em, uses the letter "M").

Make an alphabet book with your kindergartner. Have him draw pictures (you can help). You can also cut pictures from magazines or use photos. Paste each picture into the book. With your child, write next to the picture the letter that stands for the object or person in the picture (for example, "B" for bird, "M" for milk, and so on).

Click here to read see more resources and childcare related links.

You may freely reprint this article on your website provided the following caption remains intact. Article courtesy of ProviderWatch. For more information about the only nationwide credit reporting agency for childcare professionals, visit providerwatch.com or call toll free 1.866.267.3691.