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Children learn language by listening to other people speak - especially you. It takes a long time. Most kids start speaking words and then short sentences at around two years of age.
Maybe your child hears two languages at home - English and Irish or another language altogether. Kids at this age are like sponges - soaking up new words every day.
If your kids are learning Irish in school or hearing it at home, encourage them to watch cartoons in Irish. The Irish language TV channel TG4 has a children's channel and a free App called Cúla 4. There are original cartoons and popular international cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants re-voiced in Irish. There are also games and activities. Your child will increase their Irish vocabulary without realising they are learning.
Children improve their language by hearing how words are used in everyday life. Chatting to your child helps build their communication skills. Getting your child to tell you stories or explain things, helps them to put ideas in the right order. This is an important skill for listening and speaking.
When you’re out and about with your child ask them to recall little things that happened on previous trips. For example, “Do you remember what we saw here yesterday?” This helps your child to recall, listen, speak and to become more aware of their surroundings – good skills for listening and speaking.
But remember, to listen well, first let your child finish what they are saying. Avoid too many questions that might interrupt their train of thought. Try not to think about what you want to say next. Concentrate on what your child is saying. Check with them that you understood, for example, “So what you are saying is…”
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