Effective communication with tots

Effective communication with tots

Baby Steps

Monday, January 25, 2021

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FROM birth, your baby is a sponge who will soak up information, and as such it's important that you stimulate them and engage them in activities that will help their growth. Here are some learning and stimulation activities for effective communication from birth to three years provided in The Jamaica Early Childhood Curriculum Guide: Birth to Three is Key for parents and early childhood practitioners.


•Talk to baby about the sounds and routines in his environment.

•Listen and respond to sounds that baby makes; imitate his or her vocalisations; appreciate baby's sounds as the beginning of communication.

•Talk frequently with baby in a pleasant, calm voice; use simple language (not baby talk).

• Sing and read to baby.

• Make frequent eye contact while being responsive to baby's cues; engage in many one-to-one, face-to-face interactions with baby.

• Be consistent in giving care to baby.

•Look at baby and make eye contact; be animated and talk with expression, raise eyebrows, smile, etc.

• Provide colourful objects, visual displays, for example, mobiles within baby's sight but not within reach.

• Provide soft music and a variety of other sounds and multi-sensory experiences.

•Encourage baby when he or she is engaged in a variety of activities.

• Keep toys and playthings clean.

•Play and talk with, sing for, read to baby daily.

• Provide mirrors.


•Engage in many one-to-one, face-to-face interactions with baby.

•Encourage baby to listen and respond to all kinds of sounds, objects and people; talk in a pleasant, calm voice, using simple language (not baby talk) and eye contact.

• Respond to sounds baby makes and initiate vocalisations.

•Use baby's name often.

•Frequently talk with, sing to, say rhymes with and read to baby; play many interactive games with baby, for example, 'Peek-a-boo,' 'Round-and-round-the-garden' and 'This little piggy'.

•Provide an assortment of soft, safe and washable toys.

•Talk to babies about what they are doing throughout the day so babies can link words with actions; speak clearly; listen to their responses; respond to their sounds, expressions, interests, preferences.

•Play games, sing songs, repeat finger-plays and rhymes with expression and gestures; pretend play.

• Ask questions and respond to babies' sound, signals and expressions.

• Read/relate stories to babies.

•Repeat social behaviours for babies, for example, say bye-bye, clap hands.


•Talk regularly with toddlers throughout each day; speak clearly; listen to their responses; encourage toddlers to talk to each other and adults.

• Read, look at, talk about books and pictures with toddlers; sing songs, do finger-plays and interactive games and activities with toddlers.

• Clarify words for toddlers; avoid baby talk.

• Play different kinds of music, children's songs, stories, interactive activities.

• Listen to, look at (make eye contact) and respond to children's gestures, expressions, wants, words, questions; encourage toddlers to observe, listen, respond; show appreciation and encourage toddlers as they show understanding of new words and phrases.

• Set the language pattern for toddlers by gently repeating what they say using the correct structure.


•Look at each child as you talk; talk often with him or her; provide correct words, descriptions and clues; engage children in conversation about things, events and people in the environment, community, inside and outside; provide words and phrases when children point; avoid baby talk.

•Ask children to help with simple tasks, for example, putting away playthings, helping with clean-up; give instructions simply and courteously; listen and respond with expression when each child seeks attention.

• Use storybooks, pictures, puppets, etc to tell stories to young children every day.

• Provide, look at, talk about picture books, pictures, charts, posters with children.

• Allow children to scribble and draw, make pictures; use different materials and surfaces.


If provided with the appropriate opportunities, children will:

•Identify objects by words or gestures.

•Name familiar objects, parts of the body; tell own name.

•Participate with adults in interactive games and songs.

• Listen attentively for short periods.

• Speak in short sentences and use plurals.

• Ask questions, especially “why?”

• Follow simple directions.

• Repeat simple rhymes.


If provided with the appropriate opportunities children will:

•Begin to develop a sense of trust in the learning/school environment.

•Use courtesies and polite expressions.

•Begin to develop an awareness that others are “real” and have feelings.

•Begin to have a sense of helping rather than hurting others and show emotion when others are in pain or discomfort.

• Begin to display emergent negotiation skills.

•Begin to be aware of and obey rules of the classroom/learning environment and school.

• Explore and show appreciation for nature/the environment.

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