"Mommy, go to Target, pick up picture. Bye, Mommy. See you later, Mommy"
My jaw literally dropped as my recently turned two year-old came into my office, uttered these three sentences and then walked out of the room. Who was this little person and what happened to my baby? While the presentation of such language growth is reason for celebration, I began thinking about where Little A was picking up these stellar skills. While I would like to take complete credit, it became clear that I must acknowledge the role big brother has played in this wonderful language success.
Recently the boys have engaged in some very elaborate imaginative play. Scenarios such as a plane trip to Florida or a drive in the car play out as mini-adventures where backpacks are filled, couches transformed into modes of transportation, and updates are shared with the closest available adult (likely observing nearby). The banter between the boys is heartwarming and, at times, quite entertaining as they discuss plans, negotiate details, and create the narrative together. They find common ground and nurture their relationship with each adventure.
The negotiating that inevitably ensues during these play scenarios requires each of the boys to not only communicate effectively, but also understand the language of the other. Understanding one another has taken different forms as Little A transitioned from being more of a passive play partner in the past to a dutiful partner with clear wishes and opinions about the activity at hand. In these instances the language learning has been just as meaningful for Big A as it has been for Little A. Deciphering one another's verbal and non-verbal intentions has influenced language and social development in exciting ways.
It also dawns on me that Big A was just shy of two years-old when Little A was born, which means that Little A has benefited from a lot of our toddler language strategies from the day he was born. Some of my favorite techniques include:
Despite having multiple degrees in education and literacy, I seem to have some tough competition when it comes to teaching in our house. Ultimately Little A is the one to benefit from all the love and attention, and both boys are constantly influencing the other's overall growth. From where I sit, I enjoy watching my two boys grow closer and learning from one another each step of the way.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com