Less Questions, More Naming: How To Support Your Toddler’s Development
It is exciting to witness your toddler’s development. Everywhere a baby looks is a learning experience, and being part of this journey from infancy to adolescence can be thrilling.
One way to help your toddler develop socially, emotionally and cognitively is by assigning names to the things they’re seeing, feeling and hearing. This type of support builds upon the knowledge they’re already accumulating, and strengthens their ability to acquire new information and ideas.
Why is Naming Things Relevant?
Naming things requires a child to pay attention to the details and appreciate the uniqueness of the experience. Each name is a new label and definition, and each definition opened more opportunities for the child’s cognitive growth.
Naming things also helps a child to understand relationships. Call an object like a chair and a couch and the toddler can start to understand the concept of “furniture” in general. With each successive definition, the toddler can draw further connections and start to further define a range of items and concepts.
Things to consider when Naming
When assigning a name to people, animals or things you should consider a few things:
- Make it interesting. Toddlers love to play, so make the experience fun by coming up with exciting and creative names that your child finds intriguing.
- Provide context and explanation. Talk about the different features of the thing you are naming, and provide further real-life experience by observing the object within its environment.
- Be as specific as possible. With names like dog versus Schnauzer (or a particular breed of animal), it provides more context for the toddler to understand.
- Pay attention to details. Focus on what makes a particular thing unique with regards to color, size, texture and shape.
Fun Object Naming Activities
To get the most out of this process, come up with some fun and exciting activities that you can do with your toddler that will reinforce the idea of naming and develop their cognitive skills. Here are some examples:
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood. When you come across different plants, point them out and suggest a fun name. Ask your toddler to come up with names too.
- Play a matching game. Take a picture of different objects and cut them out. Get your toddler to match the object with the corresponding picture. Saying the name of the object out loud will help them remember more quickly.
- Make a list. Go through your pantry and name each different item; lather, rinse, repeat with different areas of the house.
Naming things and helping your toddler understand the world around them is an essential part of their development. Each time your child engages in this activity, they’ll be exercising their cognitive skills, broadening their knowledge base, and increasing their self-confidence.