As we enjoy the last warm days of late, late summer and look forward to the colorful scenes of fall, there is plenty of outside time left this year. Young children benefit so much from the rich array of available sensory experiences – the smells of summer fruit, the sounds of play and laughter, the special sights at the fair, etc. Their brains are busy making new connections and their language development is moving full steam ahead. There is so, so much to talk and sing about!
Excellent children’s books, including many by the accomplished photographer Tana Hoban, provide interesting things to discuss when it’s time to come indoors. Be sure to provide high quality board books for babies and toddlers. They are designed to withstand even more sensory exploration; any self-respecting baby will chew on them!
Some of the favorites at my house (too many years ago) were from a delightful series by Helen Oxenbury. Demi (so cool she only needs one name) has done so many good things! We had a fuzzy duck board book by her at one point; Collin let it “go for a swim” in the toilet. That’s what I call using the old (actually young, in this case) noggin!
If you are curious about the specifics of language development, you might wish to consult a resource such as Language Development in Early Childhood by Beverly Otto. It will be even more fun to observe the language changes in your little ones if you find out (or refresh your memory) about the specifics of it all – from an academic perspective.
One thing’s for sure – when you know more about the marvelous way in which children acquire language, your respect for their hard work will increase dramatically, even when they forget to “use their words.” Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline series (including Positive Discipline: The First Three Years) will help you know what you can expect of young children in terms of age-appropriate behavior. I don’t think I could have raised children without good informational books like these!