By KATHY SMITH
Parenting can be challenging, but it can be the most meaningful and rewarding job a person will ever day. It is important that parents talk, read and play with their children every day.
Children learn better, speak better and have more self-esteem if parents talk to their children, read to them and with them and interact in play with them from the earliest ages on into adulthood. The more parents talk to children beyond instructional conversations such as do this and do that, the more broader the child’s vocabulary.
Talk every day
Infants: Infants are learning words. Say your baby’s name often. Take turns making sounds. Babies learn how people react when making sounds. Talk to your baby at bath time, play time and feeding time. This is how your baby will learn the daily routine. Talking to your baby and help your baby learn to talk.
Toddlers: Help children learn to talk by adding words. Help your child learn new words by explaining what is happening during the day. Name your toddler’s feelings such as happy, sad and mad. Sing simple songs. Use a lot of rhyming words.
Preschoolers: Talk to your child about their day. Ask questions that begin with who, what and why. Talk about what happens during the day. Use complete sentences to describe what is about around you and your child. Ask your child “what if” or “I wonder” questions.
Read every day
Infants: Look at books together. This gives you a chance to hold and cuddle your baby. Point at pictures in books and talk about what you see. This gives your baby a chance to hear new words and learn to enjoy books. Read before nap time and bedtime. This can be a calming routine.
Toddlers: Sit closer to or hold your toddler when looking at books together. Let him choose a book, turn pages and point to pictures and words. Read your child’s favorite book over and over. Children learn words when they hear them often. Visit the library to find new books. Keep books, newspapers and magazines in your home.