Today we're talking about inferences. It's a skill that's very important for social interactions and reading. As adults, we make inferences all the time. But it's actually something that requires putting together something you already know, applying logic, and making predictions. It can be kind of tricky.
In this post we're going to discuss how to grow this skill with young children.
Understanding cause and effect is an important step for making inferences. With your baby, it's important to engage in lots of activities that have repetition. When you stack blocks and push them, they fall down. When you push this button, the train says "choo choo," when you pull down the blanket, dad says "boo." Chances are, these simple repetitive activities are naturally helping so long as you're playing alongside your child.
Use Books and Pictures with Young Children
In addition to early literacy exposure, reading can be a great opportunity to work on inferences. Try reading a few pages together, or looking at a the pictures on each page. Then, before turning the page, ask "what do you think is going to happen next?" When you turn the page and find out, add positive reinforcement if your child was right. If they weren't right, point out what really happened: "Uh oh, the dog is sad because he lost his ball."
Make Inferences About Daily Activities
Before heading out somewhere, you can give your child clues about where you're going and then have them take a guess. For example, "we're going somewhere that has sand, and crabs, and seashells - where do you think we're going?" We can play a similar game with objects. For example, "something is hiding in here. It has fur, and barks, and loves to chew on bones - what do you think is hiding in here?"
Incorporate Discussion About Other People's Thoughts and Feelings
Whether you're reading a book, watching a movie, interacting with family members, or just observing others in your community, you can practice inferencing to help your child develop the ability to consider how other's feel. Try connecting it back to a moment where they might have felt the same emotion: "How do you think the girl feels since she dropped her ice cream? Remember when you spilled your cereal this morning?"
The ability to make inferences and draw conclusions is important for a child's social development and communication abilities. We hope these tips help you practice inferencing during playtime or any other daily activity. Check out the Expressable blog for other helpful tips and exercises to help your child.