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Tend the Garden – Similar to the way we plant seeds and tend to a garden, language development is not an overnight production. Babies spend the first year of their life listening and building the roots of language understanding. To keep a garden healthy and productive it requires daily attention, ensuring adequate water, sunlight, protection from pests, pruning, and supports for vines and branches until ultimately it begins to produce flowers, fruits and vegetables. To build a strong communicator also requires daily attention. The sounds, words and phrases we use in daily routines as we talk with our babies and toddlers are the sun, water, fertilizer and supports for their later language use. Computer, tablet and television screens are akin to pests that can deter from face to face interactions and the creation of social language skills. In fact the Canadian Paediatric Society’s guide for physicians recommends no screen time for children under 2 years of age. (http://www.cps.ca/active-actifs/how-much-for-babies). The best supports for early communication skill development are caregiver supported songs, books, shared experiences and opportunities for play.

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