Getting face-to-face with your child to support language development
When we are face to face with a child, our interactions can be more purposeful, planned, and engaging. By being face to face with a child, we communicate to them that we are actively listening and engaging with them. The child is learning to focus on the same object or establish joint attention and the adult can provide a visual example of how to say words and sounds.
As adults, it is helpful to be face to face with a child when interacting with them because it provides more information about what a child is attending to and/or interested in playing with. It also provides an opportunity for the adult to observe their facial expressions and alter their behavior depending on what the child is communicating.
Getting face-to-face can look different depending on where the child is. Here are some ideas for how to get face-to-face with a child to make interactions more meaningful:
If the child is sitting on the floor, an adult can lie on their stomach or sit down with them.
If the child is standing, the adult can kneel down
If the child is in a high chair, the adult can sit in a chair and face them
If the child is sitting on an adult's lap, the adult can shift the child to one side and lean over to get as face-to-face as possible.
Being face to face also provides the opportunity for an adult to draw a child’s attention to their lips and mouth when producing a new word. This visual feedback can be helpful in supporting a child’s ability to produce new words.