Today we're talking about inferences. Inferencing means reaching a conclusion or opinion based on known facts or evidence. It's a skill that's 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. This can be kind of tricky for young children! In this article, we'll discuss how you can help grow this skill with your little one.
Teach your child cause and effect
Understanding cause and effect is an important step for making inferences. With your baby, it helps to engage them in lots of activities that have repetition. When you stack blocks and push them, the blocks fall down. When you push this button, the train says "choo choo. When you pull down the blanket, Dad says "boo." These simple repetitive activities will naturally help your child learn inferencing, so long as you're playing alongside them.
Read books with pictures together
In addition to early literacy exposure, reading can be a great opportunity to work on inferences. Read a few pages together, or look at 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?" You 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?"
Talk 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 others 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.