Speech & Language tips related to "Body Works"

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Toddlers are fascinated by their bodies and many of their early words are related to body parts and what they can do. They enjoy pointing out their facial features, and progress to commenting on those same features in other people, toys and animals. Toddlers also have immense enthusiasm for doing everyday tasks, and can often be heard exclaim, "no, me / I do it!".  Some activities that help your toddler increase their understanding of the words related to their body and how it moves include:

  • Singing songs, while doing the actions (e.g. "head shoulders knees and toes", "this is the way we wash your hair...").
  • Talking about left / right. For example, when putting shoes & socks on your child, you could say "left foot / right foot", and give each foot a little squeeze or tickle to emphasise that it is the left or right foot.
  • Face painting gives you both an opportunity to talk about their face, animal faces, colours, how the paint feels, etc.
  • Looking in a mirror together, making funny faces or pointing to your facial features
  • Talking about what you are doing in your daily routines, e.g. brushing teeth, bathing, nappy changing, dressing (e.g. warm/cold weather clothes), toileting and mealtimes.
  • Talking about what they can do, e.g., jumping, clapping.
  • Encouraging them to do some things for themselves, e.g. putting their crocs on by themselves.

Older pre-schoolers also have a keen interest in "body works" and comment on their observations about themselves and others. They notice different features in other people, such as eye/ skin/ hair colour, and their languages. Pre-schoolers also ask a lot of questions about new things in their environment.

At pre-school, they will be learning about hygiene and healthy food choices. You can build on this at home by involving them in shopping, cooking and safe household duties (e.g. clearing their plate from the table or a tidy up blitz). While you are doing these activities, you could talk about the objects you are using, foods you are buying, and why.

When your child asks "What's this?" try encouraging him/ her to think about what they think it should be called. You can praise their great ideas and expand on them with more information.

Sharing books with toddlers and pre-schoolers is a very helpful way to talk about "body works". It is always helpful to follow your child's lead, chatting about whatever it is they are interested in. Following a child's lead, teaches them to be a leader.

Be creative! Language learning happens in everyday life, so you will have endless opportunities to talk with your child, building a strong communicative relationship for years to come.

If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child's communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.