There will be lots to come on the topic of teaching language to our children (ie: multiple languages, how to learn colors etc.) but here’s a quick one today to remind us all that our kids learn by example.
We were at Church the other day when I had a huge coughing spat. At the end of it I flippantly said “oh goodness!”…. and heard it repeated for the rest of the hour courtesy of my little parrot. I had said it with a smile on my face (of relief, because the coughing was done) – so said little bird thought it was funny, and exclaimed it more and more urgently until we walked out the door.
Whenever he wants to do something like color… laundry…swim…or lick my toes… he’ll say to me “may I have swimming please mommy” and then cheekily add “maybe later” (my frequent response)…. Or when he runs to the front door, he mockingly says “don’t open the door” with my exact voice inflections! Infuriatingly cute.
He’s picking up crazy amounts of Hindi from our Indian nanny now too. What the what?!
I remember when my little niece was just a tiny little tingu and barely talking yet, her dad would say things like “honey your behavior just now was highly inappropriate” and we would kind of giggle about how crazy those words must have sounded to an infant… but you should hear the girl now. She’s barely three and has a better vocabulary than some adults I know.
Studies have shown time and time again that talking to our kids (reading and singing count too) – but just using language around them is how they learn and assimilate their mother tongue. I was talking to a friend who works in a daycare the other day who told me that she can tell how parents talk at home based on the things their children say. Anyone else blushing?
Kids learn by example, so watch what you say. Watch how you say it. But keep saying good things!