Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Watch your language

Language, it's an interesting concept and it is quiet complex.  Throw children into the mix and it is even more complex. Babies love that high pitch tone that adults have when talking to them. As babies grow into toddlers and beyond it is time to ditch the high pitch. It is a pet peeve of mine to hear grown adults speak baby talk to a 3 year old. As adults we need to speak to children in an age appropriate manner. Get down to their level, I mean this literally. Don't tower over them. Sit down, squat down, do whatever you have to do and look them in the eye to have a real conversation. Use words that they will understand, do not talk to them like babies or like little adults. They are neither of these things.
If a young child does not know how to express themselves, give them the words to use. For example, two children are fighting over a toy. You may have seen the whole scenario play out but our job as adults is to have these two children work it out. They may need help with the words. Little Emily is crying because another child took her toy and she is standing there crying. You may say to Emily"Why are you upset" Emily stands there and points to the other child. You then may say, "Did Jane take your toy?" Emily nods her head yes. You then say to Emily " Tell Jane that it is not ok to take your toy." Emily does this and so on. You, as the adult, need to teach the children in your care how to communicate. We have to teach them everything else, walking, dressing, why not language also?
Children will look for approval from the adults around them. It is find to say "Good job" every time your child shows you a piece of art they have created or after they build an amazing block structure. However, lets take it to the next level. If a child shows you their latest drawing, they may be looking for your verbal approval. Lets be honest here, you may look at this drawing and think, "I do not know what this is a picture of". Instead of saying "What is this?" (Imagine how crushing that statement could be to the child) , try saying "Tell me about your picture." This puts it back in the hands of the child. He/she may then tell you a fantastic story about their picture. It is their picture after all. Lets say a child shows you their painting hanging on the easel. Instead of "Nice work" try saying "I like the colors that you used". You are still giving a compliment but the ownership is given back to the child. This is a hard habit to get into after years of saying "Good job" but it is well worth it. Try it and see what great conversations begin.......


  1. Oh Randi, right there with you! Language, and the proper use of it, is an issue for me. If children do not learn to communicate effectively, then their chances to succeed in life are significantly reduced!!! Does this mean that I correct every minor mistake Catie-Beth makes? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that Richard and I model correct speech in front of her. Ugh...Sore spot!

  2. Excellent point about the modeling Jen. Model, model, model. Not just in language, but in every aspect of life. I might just have to blog about modeling soon.........
    Lets keep the ball rolling.......

  3. Let's rock the dang cat walk, shall we? HAHAHA!