When you chat with your child you're not only teaching them new words, you're teaching them how conversation works. In every chat, they will learn how to take turns, how to listen to others, and how to talk. Children will also be developing their understanding of how to respond to eye contact, facial expression and gesture. These are all really important social skills that will help your child form friendships and make connections with others now, and as they get older. Learning about conversations starts from the very beginning, very young babies may take turns sticking their tongue out, and from just a few months old will enjoy a babble chat with you.
The more you chat together, the more they will learn, so make the most of daily opportunities to chat.
Christmas provides lots of chatting opportunities!
Make the most of this festive season and chat about new things:
- Use all of your senses, chat about new smells and sounds as well as the things you can see. You might notice and talk about Christmas music playing in a shop, the smell of a Christmas tree or houses decorated with lights.
- Older children will be excited by new experiences. When you respond to what they say, you are showing them that you're interested too.
- Notice where your baby looks or points to see what they're interested in, and chat to them about it.
- Mealtimes are a great chatting opportunity too, include even the youngest family members in mealtime chatter.
- Routine times of the day are great opportunities for a quiet chat with little ones, make the most of nappy time, bath time and story time for some one to one chatting!
Go for a winter walk
It's important to get outside even when it's cold. A winter walk can be really fun, especially at Christmas time. Make the most of opportunities to chat together on the way to the shops, park or nursery.
When you're out and about the changing winter environment will give you plenty to chat about. Notice what your child is interested in and talk about those things, or support them to notice things around you.
You could chat about:
- The cold or wet weather and how you can keep warm.
- Crunchy frost on the grass and car windscreens, you might even spot a spider's web.
- Puddles, look closely to see if they're frozen.
- Trees, have you noticed lots of the leaves have gone?
- Steps, count them as you climb.
- The sounds you can hear: an aeroplane, birds or a siren.
- Different types of vehicles driving by.
- Anything you see, hear, feel or smell!
- Download our walk and talk trail to refer back to tips when you're taking a walk.
Make your walk extra exciting by going out in the evening as it gets dark, to see how many Christmas lights you can find.
If you enjoyed this activity, why not check out our tips for playing and reading over the festive period?