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How can I enhance my child's communication skills?

Q: I am poor in the Hindi and English language since I am from Southern India. I got married to a Hindu but have yet not picked up the language. I am afraid about my daughter who is 16 months old. How can I teach her the language? She wants to interact with other kids and convey messages through me but I can't say anything. Even the small kids here speak fluently. My husband is generally out. I am in a dilemma. Please help, I feel very lonely. What all should I do to develop my child's communication skills?

A:As your daughter grows up and starts moving around, she will pick up the language that others are speaking. As you may know, children learn the language they hear. You should also talk your own language to her, tell her stories and sing songs. The mother tongue is learnt without an effort. Children will learn Hindi or any other language used, as they play with other children. Anyway, at 16 months, most children use only a few words, although they understand a lot more. So your child is not at a disadvantage yet. You could also start learning spoken Hindi yourself from a Hindi-speaking woman in the area, perhaps from a retired school teacher. You will find that Hindi is a very easy language to learn. You can also borrow Class I Hindi books and teach yourself, with a little help. When your Hindi neighbours find that you are keen to learn their language, at least one or two of them will be willing to help. When your child is with others, she will learn to communicate. There is no cause for worry. In fact your child will be able to help you to speak Hindi, in a year from today. All the best.

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