Using daily routines, like bath-time and getting dressed, are all great times for a language learning opportunity. Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner times can be important learning times in your child’s daily schedule too. Talking and eating is something social that we all do as adults, so make mealtime another language building opportunity with your little one.
Remember that your child is learning words from you. So it is important to be that ideal language model.
As always, use the five methods of word learning to reinforce and teach your child new words and concepts. Since mealtime can be repetitious, its a great opportunity to give your child multiple exposures to certain words and concepts. Here are a few to use:
Objects Actions Concepts Location
- spoon sit down mine/yours on the plate
- fork pour more/less next to the cup
- cup stir, mix all/none under the table
- plate, dish cut hot/cold in/inside your belly
- milk, water bite, chew empty/full
- food names wash crunchy/mushy
- napkin clean up all gone
- Time to eat, Wash hands, Sit down, your chair, Hot!, Blow on it
- My spoon, my plate, my chair, Pour it- Psshh, Want more?
- Milk please, Stir it up , Clean face, clean hands
Describing foods by their shape, texture, size, and taste is another great opportunity to use words that your child might not otherwise hear in their day. For example, This carrot is crunchy, This cookie is chewy, This tomato is round, This cracker is rough
You can also work on identifying foods and related items:
Identifying by Name: Show me carrots, show me banana, show me spoon, etc.
Identifying by Attribute: Which one is long, Which one is round, Which one is green, etc.
Using daily routines, like eating, bathing, and dressing are the best times to enhance your child’s language skills. These suggestions can help to expand receptive vocabulary and continue to provide the opportunity for hearing that ideal language model for enhanced language production later on.
Need more information on feeding times? Check out the 10 Must-Know Food Rules, or our Feeding Milestone chart to see if your child is on-track.