Quizzing Toddlers - Myth Debunked
What is that?
What color is this?
Can you tell "apple" to grandma?
And the innumerable questions we bombard a toddler with, thinking that we are helping them with their language development.
It’s exciting for parents when we see our children starting to talk as they discover the world around them and express through language. But in the spirit of helping them to talk more, we tend to ask many questions. Oftentimes, not only are the questions asked back-to-back, but are often asked without a pause for the child to even respond. This constant quizzing only adds extra pressure on the child who is starting to communicate. The more the child is bombarded with questions, they begin to feel tested and stop talking.
Please remember that babies and toddlers are still learning how to coordinate the muscles of the mouth, tongue, vocal cords and the whole oral motor system to communicate a word from their brain which may seem as simple as “car” to an adult.
Role of prepared adult:
Label and describe what you see / do. Providing a language rich environment is key and it doesn’t need fancy language materials.
Young children are continuously and effortlessly absorbing everything from their environment and this includes language. Our role is to continue to expand the vocabulary in a meaningful way through everyday situations.
For example, in the case a young child who is pointing to a ball, you can label it “ball” and describe what you see or any actions you do, “That’s a small red ball. Let’s touch the ball to see how it feels like. It is squishy. Let’s throw the ball.” and keep the conversation going.
Quizzing a young child constantly to test their knowledge is like digging the soil frequently to check if the seed's roots have developed. Both the seed and the child are absorbing everything from their environment. Both need nourishment and time to grow beautifully.
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