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How To Create A Language-Rich Environment For Toddlers?

Written by: Angela Mischkulnig, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Angela Mischkulnig

A recent study published by JAMA Pediatrics calledScreen time and parent-child talk when children are aged 12 to 36 months' tried to find associations between screen time, spoken words from adults, child vocalisations and conversational turns within the mentioned age group. Key findings were that for every additional minute of screen time, children heard fewer adult words, spoke fewer words, produced fewer sounds and engaged in fewer back-and-forth interactions, limiting the time children experienced language in their environment.

Mother and daughter reading book

By interacting with our children and creating opportunities for communication daily, we can support them in building their language skills.


10 Tips to cultivate a language-rich environment for your toddler


1. Be a positive role model for language use by speaking to your child in short sentences at eye level. Make pauses, try to use intonation and repetition to hold their attention and respond to gestures. Encourage their attempts but respond by giving them the correct structure, word order and sounds.


2. Singing songs and nursery rhymes are easy and fun ways to expose toddlers to language as it helps to develop phonological awareness, rhythm, and vocabulary. Choose songs and rhymes with repetitive verses or catchy tunes and encourage them to join in.


3. Play is essential for language development and offers endless opportunities for interactions and conversations where your toddler learns how sounds, words and conversations work. Choose age-appropriate toys and encourage your child to express themselves in pretend play scenarios. Provide props, join in, name things that are new to them, repeat those and build on existing knowledge.


4. Introduce your children to a wide range of words by labelling objects, actions, and emotions in their environment. Use descriptive language when discussing colours, shapes, sizes, and textures and encourage them to use specific words. Listen carefully, observe their body language and respond warmly so a child learns to understand and manage their emotions. It also provides an opportunity to introduce a child to the language of emotions, so they have words to describe how they feel.


5. Use everyday situations where you encourage conversations with your child. Mealtimes, grocery shopping, bedtime or bathtime could be opportunities to engage in a conversation and to practice taking turns, speaking and listening. As children learn language by hearing, it is necessary to encourage back-and- forth communication by asking open-ended questions and listening attentively to their responses.


6. Make ‘Reading together’ a daily habit to promote language and literacy development. Let your children choose books and encourage interactions and conversations. To expand vocabulary and comprehension skills, explore picture books together and try to make predictions about the storyline.


7. Choosing age-appropriate books is essential for keeping young children engaged. Big picture books, soft books with sensory inputs, interactive books with flaps, pop-ups, sliders and repetitive language encourage curiosity and interaction. Predictable books encourage toddlers to anticipate what might happen and to memorise the plot.


8. Borrow books from the library and let your child choose books they are interested in. It empowers autonomy and supports them in developing reading preferences. Spark your toddler's curiosity by exposing them to a variety of books.


9. Play listening games and incorporate them into daily activities as they strengthen children’s auditory perception. Try to identify noises in your home (e.g. the sound of a door or a doorbell, running water) or when you are out and about. Make your child aware of noise within their environment and help name those.

10. Consider screen time recommendations and limit screen time for young children.


Try to incorporate some of these tips into your daily routines, make them a habit and watch your child's language skills grow.


For more information about how children learn through and for cleverly designed open-end travel toys, visit our website, The Wonderful Little Suitcase Company or connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, or on Facebook

Angela Mischkulnig Brainz Magazine

Angela Mischkulnig, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Angela, Co-founder of 'The Wonderful Little Suitcase Company' is a skilled Australian-based designer with a background in pediatric speech therapy focusing on children with developmental disorders. Combining her knowledge of child development and parenting, she creates imaginative and sustainable toys that promote playful learning. In recognising the growing impact of digital technology on very young children, she is committed to offering engaging alternatives for busy caregivers. With a German B.A. in Design, an Austrian Speech Pathology degree with over a decade of experience working in Austria and Liechtenstein and additional studies at Stanford Center for Health Education, she applies her expertise to nurture children's natural curiosity.



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