Talking with your grandchild

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As a grandparent, you can help your grandchild along as they learn to speak, play and read. It’s never too soon to start.

Chatting

Here are some ways to help your grandchild start speaking and understanding:

  • Use the language that you know best. It doesn’t have to be English.
  • Talk about what you are doing as you carry out everyday activities.
  • Look at your grandchild as you speak. It helps them focus on you. Give them time to respond. This may be through a coo, a babble or a smile.
  • If your grandchild says something incorrectly, don’t tell them off. Just smile and say it back the right way.
  • Try to limit your grandchild’s daily TV time and turn it off when you are not watching it. When you do allow TV time, you can watch it together and talk about what is happening.

Reading

Your grandchild will get lots out of looking at books with you, even before they can read. It’s one of the ways they learn to listen and speak.

  • Read the book slowly and clearly. Try out funny voices for characters or rhymes.
  • You don’t have to read. You can point to the pictures and talk about them. You could also use toys to help bring the book to life.
  • Favourite books can be shared again and again. The repetition helps children understand and remember the language they hear.
  • If you live nearby, visit your library for different books – it’s free to join.
  • Don’t read for too long. Young children get bored easily, so little and often is best.

Music

Children like hearing us sing, rhyme or hum – even if we’re not tuneful! It helps them to pick up on words and sounds.

  • Turn off the TV and radio so your grandchild can hear your voice.
  • Try using your grandchild’s name in a song.
  • You can clap your hands or your grandchild’s hands in tune to a beat.
  • When your grandchild joins in, show her that you have noticed and give lots of encouragement.