How Does the Environment Affect Language Development?

Written by johanna parry cougar
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  • Introduction

    How Does the Environment Affect Language Development?

    Healthy language development is the natural result of a healthy lifestyle. Children who are exposed to diverse activities, repetitive exposures to stories and language use, and who have various relationships with several trusted others do best. Language development is an immersion learning experience. Like with all learning, calm, loving tones and safe stimulating sounds soothe young children into enjoying the processes involved in learning to talk. All of these factors make up a child's learning environment.

    Language Development (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

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    Starting Early

    Children can begin mimicking real words as early as six months old, if parents are paying attention, and can make out the sounds being tried on. A baby pointing towards the forest burbling "T, T" may very well be trying to say "tree," and inexperienced parents can miss this first word. Exposure to nature and outdoors is very stimulating to children and can be a good way to trigger the first excited attempts at language use.

    Starting Early (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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    Parents reading age-appropriate stories with pictures is another classic language development environment. Every child experiences the favourite book or pet, and the focus of the favourite object is what remains in the child's mind, causing the attempts to communicate the need to have the favoured thing. Creating an environment where the child begins to miss this favourite object or pet can be a way to stimulate the attempts at language use.

    Favourites (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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    The safe and comfortable environment is crucial to a child's healthy language development. Stress retards language use, and non-responsive or overly reactive parents cause children to stop making learning attempts. Body comfort is another important factor. If a child is too cold, too hot, or doesn't feel safe, again the focus for this child is not on learning. The child's focus becomes how to get comfortable or how to feel safe. More often than not, a pre-verbal child chooses crying to do this.

    Comfort (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

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    Emotional Environment

    The "environment" can be a reference to many things. The learning environment, the home environment, the car environment, all have independent effects on our children. The most important environment for children, because it is the only environment they fully comprehend with no instructions involved, is the emotional environment. Generally speaking, a happy mother has a happy child. A happy family has healthy, happy children. Emotions are what cause or eliminate stressful energies, and stress does not work well for small children.

    Emotional Environment (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

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    Children have been known to stop talking following a trauma. Trauma happens when a child perceives harm within her environment to others or to herself. Even if a profound physical injury takes place, if the people within the accident environment remain completely calm, there is no perception of trauma for the child to experience. The child may witness the injury, yet the calm adults can transform the energy into healthy, studied and concerned action, rather than allowing the emotional environment to disintegrate into a traumatising event. A calm, happy living environment is the most supportive environment available for a child developing language use.

    Trauma (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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