Monday, October 4, 2010

Toddlers and Language

So, when it comes to language, I think E is both incredibly advanced and a bit behind. She can read every upper-case letter on sight, many lower-case letters as well, and several numbers. She has a few words I think she can read on sight. Yet, she can't sing her ABC's and she won't count to ten. My mom is fond of saying that she'll be able to read the newspaper before she can sing the alphabet.

Her vocabulary is booming, but she still doesn't use sentences very often. Her most-effective form of communication is usually one-or-two-word statements: "orange juice" or "cereal, cheerios." I get bothered when people tell me I should always, always make her use her words before I'll give her anything. That seems unnecessarily antagonistic. If I refused to give E anything to eat unless she said the word first, we'd undoubtedly have 10+ tantrums per day. Instead, I help her to get what she needs at meals and snacks. If she wants a special treat, then I insist that she tells me specifically what she wants. This often leads to a tantrum, but it has the added incentive that she wants the treat she's asking for very badly, so she is more likely to comply. As such, "chocolate" and "chips" are pretty easily understood by anybody.

I figure, parenthood is all about picking your battles. And this is good practice for when she's a teenager and everyone's telling me I ought not to let her listen to THAT music or dye her hair THAT color.

1 comment:

  1. Reciting the alphabet doesn't have much use re: learning to read or reading readiness. So no worries there. It's much better to be able to recognize the letters and their associated sounds. Same with rote counting. Eventually, those rote abilities are useful when putting things into order, but that's about it.

    Have you tried teaching her some sign language? It won't hinder her speech development, but may avoid some of the tantrums and she can use it in conjunction with her words. Possibly, it can take the pressure off of her trying to remember and form her words into a long phrases or complete sentences. (I hope that made sense).

    Eventually, she'll use her words more and rely on the signs less. It's also, a good way to get her started on a second language. My kids had over 100 signs at her age, and that didn't stop them one bit from talking my ears off. (They still use the signs, when they are trying to be discreet or "talk in code" during games.)