What is your child doing when he is watcing you cook? Zoning out? Nope. Your child is learning. He's watching you and understanding what the things in his environment do and how they work. For instance, he is seeing that the roundish silver thing with a stick goes on the big box attached to the wall with circles on top (aka a pot and stove). Now, the child will understand how things work and things belong. However, this does not give him the language to explain his world. This is where you come in.
For pre-talkers, kids with early language, and kids with hearing loss (who are learning to listen and talk): You must narrate your life. You need to tell your child everything that your using and doing. I want you to narrate your life to point that you feel silly (it will happen) and you annoy yourself (this will also happen). However, it's what is best for your child. Don't stop with the names of objects. You can explain materials things are made of, size, color, shape, function of items, where they belong, if it is edible or not, number of objects being used, weight, what something eats, the sound it makes, etc. This will help you child begin to understand: sequencing of events, describing objects, naming items, conversation, etc. The possibilities and benefits are endless!
Will this happen overnight? Nope. It is a hard habit to create. If you begin one day and forget an hour later, that's ok. Just start talking/narrating again when you remember! Have your spouse remind you and you remind your spouse. Now, let me give you some examples so you really get what I'm describing:
- Johnny, I'm going to pour the orange juice from the gallon jug into this glass. Mmmmm... this is tasty. I like to drink orange juice. Do you like my glass? It is clear and tall.
- Let's put the water on. Do you hear it? It makes a loud noise when it hits the bathtub. What do we do in the bathtub? We wash ourselves so we are clean. We use a washcloth and soap when we wash ourselves. What are we going to wash? Let's wash your face first. Now, let's wash your hands. Do you see the bubbles on your hand? They will disappear when we rinse your hand with water! It's magic!