1. Narrate everything and I mean absolutely everything. I know this will feels so silly at first but it is absolutely paramount in increasing your child's receptive language skills. You can start this while they are tiny newborns but please don't feel discouraged if you did not! For new moms, I would encourage you to start this as soon as you take them home from the hospital. But how does that look practically? Here are some things that I did with my Lily when she was fist born.
A. I would walk to the different pictures in our house and tell stories about her sweet family. I would include information about each relative and describe where the picture was taken and the fun memories behind it!
B. I also would walk around and take her on "imaginary" trips! I know this one is funny to imagine but I had so much fun with it! I would say things like and now Lily we are going to take a trip to Alaska. And I would narrate the whole sequence of events for her. We would pick up our pace as I told her we were taking off in the airplane, and would describe the beautiful sights we saw. I would tell her "oh look at the moose eating grass and the grizzly bear uh-oh lets hurry up! Since sweet Lily could not obviously not dialogue with me, it was a fun way that I could help garner her language skills!
C. I would explain everything I was doing! I would explain even the simplest task like - "lets open the big black door," the more descriptive the better! I love to pile on the adjectives!
1. I still narrate everything with Lily and she has increased her vocabulary by leaps and bounds!
For example, when we go on walks I describe everything we see! Yesterday we compared "hard vs. soft" This is how it looked: she picked up a few rocks that she was very excited about at the playground. So, I said "oh you found rocks! Wow!" The more inflective your voice is the better! I asked her how many rocks do you have? (Lily is able to count up to ten- only to 3 when counting actual objects) so I would not have asked her this question and waited for a response except that I knew she could complete the task. If she was not counting yet, I would have said: oh you found 2 rocks! I like your 2 rocks. Lets count them together!) Then, I said oh your rock is hard. Let's feel it together! And then I compared it with her stuffed bear and said "bear feels soft and gently put her bear to her face. But the rock is hard and I let her feel the rock again. We talked about this concept a few times and I repeated the words hard and soft several times because repetition is essential and I will cover that next! I also described the plane in the air, the clouds outside, the children riding their bikes, the bunnies hopping by, the squirrels and what they liked to eat and more. Do you see how this just becomes a lifestyle? I have truly seen the fruits of this recently or I would not be sharing this with you! It reminds me of one of my very favorite bible verses: Galations 6:9
"But do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up."