Supporting language and literature in children is an important task that can promote their development of language skills and open up a world of imagination and creativity. It’s no secret that how we speak, read, and write can make a huge difference in our lives. The way you teach your child to use language and literacy will be one of the most significant factors in setting them up for success as they grow older.
As babies grow, they will need guidance in learning proper grammar and the nuances of their native language, so they can solve problems, express themselves, understand different emotions, start and maintain relationships, and succeed in school.
Meanwhile, literature helps us understand ourselves through narrative. Whether it’s a story representing our culture or an allegory that represents our own experiences, literature helps us see what it means to be a human being in the world.
Both language and literature help us learn about ourselves so we can interact with others more effectively. They’re both important parts of growing up.
Why are Language and Literacy Skills Important for Children?
Developing language and literature skills is an important part of childhood. We want our kids to be able to develop good communication habits early so that they’ll be able to express themselves clearly in all the formal and informal situations they encounter later in life.
Supporting language and literature in children has been proven to have a positive effect on children’s future success. Researchers have found that children who develop reading and writing skills from an early age are more likely to succeed in school, have better social skills, and tend to be more academically motivated as well as more successful in their careers.
Every child progresses at their own pace. However, checking for milestones at certain ages helps ensure a child is on the right track. If a milestone is not hit, parents need to visit a specialist to see if there is a developmental disorder.
Here are some milestones you can look for in your children:
Birth to Three Months
Babies begin hearing sounds when they’re in the womb, so it’s no surprise that they start to babble within the first few months. This is when you get to see them communicating with you—maybe not in complete sentences, but in coos and squeals that make it clear that they’re trying to tell you something or reacting to their environment.
Four to Six Months
When babies are six months old, they can communicate with their parents in subtle but significant ways. They can communicate needs and desires through vocalization and facial expressions—even though what they say may be difficult for us to understand. However, babies typically begin to speak simple words, like “mama” or “dada,” around six months.
Seven to 12 Months
For children under one year old, it’s important to watch for signs that they understand what you’re saying to them. These signs include looking at you when you speak, responding to the sound of your voice with their cries or laughter, and mimicking your facial expressions or other body movements. Even if they don’t respond right away, repeat yourself, so they hear your voice as often as possible.
One to Two Years
A common milestone for children between the ages of 1-2 years old is to start using sentences with two or more words. As a parent, you should pay attention to what your child says and try to understand it (even if it isn’t quite clear), then respond to your child with a sentence that includes some of the same words.
Two to Three Years
At this stage, your child has extensively developed language and literacy skills. This means that you can have a clear conversation with them. They can construct a full sentence and name almost everything around them. Also, they can form new friendships and maintain them. They can quickly identify letters and numbers.
Three to Five Years
This is a phase where you can have long and meaningful conversations with your child. They can organize their thoughts and cover a wide range of topics. This is considered the most entertaining phase because your kid will ask a lot of questions and tell imaginary stories! They can also clearly say what they are feeling. At this stage, introducing your child to formal education is necessary as it furthers their language and literacy development.
Remember that every child attains these milestones at their own pace – so avoid comparing your child to others. Instead, let your child enjoy each stage as they grow! However, you can consult a medical professional to see if there are any developmental disorders if the child fails to hit certain milestones.
How to Support Language and Literature in Young Children
There are several ways of supporting language and literature in your young children at home:
- Respond whenever your child communicates. A constant response will allow your child to grasp new words and understand what you are saying.
- Read with your child. Reading during the day or before bed familiarizes children with different words and languages. It also allows them to understand the meaning of words and how to use them in a sentence.
- Play educational games. Playing literature-related games and singing can be a relaxed and fun way of educating them and helping them to talk, use signs, read, and write.
Here at Meaningful Beginnings, we support the proper development of language and literacy skills from a young age. Contact us to learn about how we help children become better communicators and set them up for a successful future.