Talking: A key early learning activity

A conversation with a young child can take a lot of twists and turns.
September 15, 2020
But as random as the discussion might be, this is a powerful early learning activity that actually builds connections in the child’s brain that support future learning.

Everyone learns languages word by word. When you have a conversation with a child, you add words to their vocabulary and you help them to understand what they mean.

iStock-472927222-copy-(1).jpgThe learning also happens when you listen. When you give a child time to tell you something in a conversation, you help them to practice those words and solidify the learning. Young children are still developing the brain connections and ability to do this, so sometimes it can take them much longer to respond than an adult.

Even babies like it when you chat with them. A child starts to build their knowledge of language from birth. So even when they can only coo and smile at you, talking with them creates connections in their brain to help them first learn the sounds and later the words of the languages spoken in your home. 
Talking back-and-forth like this is called serve and return and it builds not only a child’s vocabulary, but also supports their healthy development. This video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University gives more ideas on how to do this.

For more ways to build fun interactions with your child, check out an Early Learning Kit. These kits contain a book, a toy and a tip sheet with even more ideas for supporting a child’s early learning.