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Mealtimes offer great opportunities to develop language skills in young children!

Did you know?!

Mealtimes offer great opportunities to develop language skills in young children?  

Mealtimes are an inherently social experience that offers lots of opportunities to support language development in children. Whether it is the daily conversations happening at the dinner table, the listening of instructions as you read a recipe together, or the search of grocery ads as you make your weekly shopping list – mealtimes prove to be a time for filling our bellies and building our language skills!  

Here are some ways parents can do this at home: 

Narrate meal preparation: Describe what you are doing as you prepare the meal. Use simple language and include words that describe actions, colors, and shapes. 

Talk about food: Use meal times to introduce new vocabulary related to food. Describe the taste, texture, and smell of foods. Use words like sweet, sour, crunchy, and smooth. 

Encourage conversation: Ask open-ended questions to encourage your child to talk. For example, “What was your favorite part of today?” or “Tell me about something fun you did today.” 

Play games: Play simple games that involve language skills, such as “I Spy” using items on the table or “20 Questions” where you describe an object and your child guesses what it is. 

Practice manners: Use meal times to teach and practice polite phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” 

Tell stories: Share stories from your own childhood or make up stories together. This can help develop imagination and storytelling skills. Let your child tell stories about their day! You might even prompt them with a phrase like “Tell me something that made you smile today…” 

Listen actively: Give your child your full attention during meal times. Listen to their stories and respond with interest, which can help build their confidence in speaking. 

By incorporating these activities into mealtimes and meal preparation, parents can help support their child’s language development in a natural and enjoyable way.