What’s "Talking Time" and why is it an important part of helping my child Get Ready For Kindergarten? Communication is how we connect, share information, and get what we need or want from the world.
When a young child goes off to kindergarten, they will be one of many children sharing the attention of one adult. If a child is still communicating by gestures or speaking in baby talk, they will struggle to engage with others and be able to have their needs met.
We’ve all experienced very little children getting frustrated and seen/heard how they usually express themselves: screaming, crying, throwing things, biting, and hitting are pretty common reactions to anger and frustrations. When that same child goes to preschool or childcare, they are told and taught to “use their words” to explain their wants and needs. The problem is that most little children do not know enough words to express what they are thinking or feeling.
How do we help them? We build their vocabulary!
There are few things a parent can do that will better prepare a child for life than to help him or her learn to express themselves clearly to others. This gives them confidence to meet new people and face new situations and they learn to EXPECT that good things will happen because they can tell others what they are thinking.
How do you help them build their vocabulary? Talk Time! We include ideas based on our monthly theme for Talk Time in our learning plans in our Kindercartons.
Here’s how Talk Time works: Every day as part of your learning time, spend 5 minutes in conversation with your child on a specific topic. Conversation means we take turns speaking and listening. With young children, the turn may only be one or two sentences.
If your child needs extra support in waiting for their turn to talk, use a “talking toy” that you pass back and forth. Whoever is holding the toy can talk, the other must listen until it is their turn.
How to make the most of talking time:
Practice making eye contact with each other when you speak.
Do not do anything else during Talking Time but taking turns speaking and listening to each other.
Pick a topic to talk about each morning. If you need help, write our ideas down on small pieces of paper, store them in a plastic bag and pull one out each day for your Talking Topic.
This is also a great time to bring in new words and build up your child’s vocabulary. Give it a try and see if your child's communication improves!