HELPING YOUR CHILD TO SPEAK AND LISTEN
Talking with your child
Regularly talking and interacting with your child extends their language and listening skills, and helps grow their confidence with language.
Include your child when discussing everyday activities such as grocery shopping, gardening, cooking dinner, collecting mail from the mailbox, doing housework, and travelling in the car or bus.
Outings can also provide a world of new vocabulary. Discussion during outings can enrich your child’s understanding of the world. Outings might include going to the park, the zoo, a shopping centre, museums, libraries and art galleries.
As your child moves through primary school, they will speak with greater fluency and with a greater knowledge of the world.
Fun activities for lower primary students can include:
- Share rhymes, poems and songs. Encourage your child to join in.
- Share and talk about family histories and family photos.
- Look at picture books or art books. Ask your child to describe what is happening in the pictures and make up stories together.
- Collect cardboard and other household items for your child to build with. Ask your child to describe what they are building.
- Look at ‘junk mail’ and talk about the things for sale.
- Listen to simple radio programs or podcasts together and discuss the content.
- Play vocabulary games with your child such as, “what’s the opposite of ….?” (for example, “what’s the opposite of big?”) and “what’s another word for….?” (for example, “what’s another word for angry?”).
Some tips to foster more fluent speaking in middle/upper primary include:
- Continue to involve your child when discussing everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, gardening, cooking dinner, collecting mail from the mailbox, doing house work, and travelling in the car or bus.
- Try to ask your child specific questions about their day. A general question like “how was your day?” will likely get a single-word response of “good.” Ask specific questions like “what is the book you are reading in class about?” or “what did you do at lunchtime today?”
- Involve your child in your discussions about the day’s events or current events. Ask their opinion. This helps them understand different perspectives and increases their vocabulary.
- Show a genuine interest in your child’s reading, writing and viewing of all types of texts. Talking about texts can create meaningful discussions and help your child see them as important.
- Show interest in topics your child is studying at school. These can be a great springboard into discussions.
- Encourage your child to discuss their everyday problems and feelings.
- Use questions and discussion to explore other people’s feelings. This will help your child to develop empathy for others.
- Use questions and discussion to broaden your child’s experience and knowledge of the world, particularly during new experiences or on outings.