Lola Loves Language
The Little Lola Frenchie™️ book series was created not only because Lola is an amazing therapy dog and loved by all who meet and work with her, but to also help children learn language.
One of the most successful ways to build any child’s language skills is during daily routines. This is because routines allow a child to hear words over and over which helps build their understanding. It also gives a child many opportunities to use language to make requests, comment, answer questions and more- without them even realizing they are doing “work”. And as a bonus, routines are something that is already part of a child’s day so there is no need to build in extra time to sit on the floor or at the table and play. Routines also allow children to work on functional language. Functional language is language that we use in day-to-day situations to get our basic needs and wants met. They are not complex thoughts and are often the first types of messages that children use to begin to communicate. For example, “Car”, “More juice”, “I want cookie”, “I have an owie” etc.
To learn more about the importance of daily routines and how they could be used to enhance your child’s language development, listen to the episode that my mom did with child neuropsychologist Dr. Karen Wilson as part of ChildNEXUS’ “Diverse Thinking Different Learning” podcast series. In Episode 102, my mom talks about different language concepts that can be addressed in routines. She also discusses how books can be used to enhance any child’s language skills and boost their motivation to read.
To help facilitate language development at home, you can also use the following tables as a reference. They provide examples of different language skills you can target with your child in their daily routines.
In addition to vocabulary building, using routines gives children a chance to work on other important language skills including:
Remember, by using an activity that you do every day, you can influence your child’s language skills in a natural and enjoyable way! Teaching them a lot of different types of words will in turn help them make longer and longer phrases, increase their comprehension, develop social skills, build their confidence and make them an active participant in their learning process.
- Participating in joint attention. Joint attention is when someone uses an eye gaze, gesture, sounds, or words to get another person’s attention, followed by both people focusing on the same thing together. For example, your child approaches you and points out a plane flying overhead. You respond, “I see the plane too. It’s flying in the sky!”
- Imitating sounds (wee, uh oh, yum, mmm) and actions (pop, scrub, splash, mix).
- Following directions. For example, telling your child: what body part to wash, what ingredient goes in the bowl, what ingredient to get, what clothing item to put on, where to put dirty clothes, to listen for the timer to go off on the oven. .
- Answering questions. For example:
– “Where is the rubber duck?”,
– “Where do you put your shoes?”
– “What color is the soap/shirt/bowl?”,
–> “How many eggs do we need?”,
– “Where does the pan go?”,
– “What shape is the pan?”,
– “Where do we wash the dishes?”
– “What do we put on first?”
- Making predictions: What will happen next? What happens if…?
- Sequencing events: What should we do first, next, last?
- Turn taking: taking turns adding ingredients into the bowl.
- Learning about safety, including how to keep your body safe when in the kitchen (e.g., staying away from the hot oven) or getting in and out of the bathtub.
- Learning how to prevent accidents (e.g., holding a bowl with 2 hands).