Language development in the early childhood years is one of the most important developmental skills for a child’s growth. The pace of language development varies in children where some kids talk early and some kids talk later than the others, however the reasons may vary. There are two stages in Language Development. The first stage is Babbling. These are accidental sounds like baabaaabaa, paapaaapaa, maamaaa which starts early, normally at 7-8 months of age, in some cases a little later. While making these sounds, when a positive reinforcement is given, conditioning starts and language develops.
Parents Role at This Stage
When a toddler babbles, it’s difficult at times for a parent or caregiver to understand. It’s during this process, at times, the toddler also starts sign language or gestures to explain what they want. If the parent understands and gives-in to sign language at all times, delays in speech formation can occur. The child then does not feel the need for language. Encourage your child to speak in clear words and sentences, by yourself speaking in a clear language to the child. Crying leading to cooing and cooing leading to babbling and explosive sounds are a part of speech development gradually helping the child to get speech. When the babbling stage is over, the pace of language development is rapid. This is the second stage where word formation starts by joining 2 letter and 3 letter words. In some cases this starts by 1 year of age while in some cases as late as 2.6 years.
Parents Role at This Stage
The child’s vocabulary increases by listening to stories, rhymes and other such activities, which involve words. Language also forms through imitation, so being a good role model to your child is important.
The 3 essentials of language development are 1. Practice 2. Motivation 3. Guidance
Normally, the first two parameters are easily taken care off, since ample opportunity is easily available to practice talking and since adults love it when babies speak, they tend to automatically motivate. However, the third parameter, which is guidance, is often missing on account of ignorance or lack of knowledge in how to correctly guide a child. Kids learn unconsciously through imitation. Hence it is important for the parent or caregiver to speak correctly and slowly so that the child picks up words and learns to speak.
Ways to Build Your Child’s Language:
At the Babbling Stage
- Imitate your child’s babbling.
- Use voice modulation.
- Use gestures and simultaneously say words to add meaning. Like wave goodbye and say goodbye.
- Imitate your baby’s facial expressions.
- Introduce your child to animals and animal sounds.
- Reading to your child is important.
At the Word Formation Stage
- Repeat what your child is saying and explain further.
- Ask simple questions to build on vocabulary.
- Offer choices to your child. Would you like a banana with your lunch or yogurt?
- Use books with large images to point and say words.
- Encourage them to complete nursery rhymes.
- Form short sentences.
- Read stories. When they get familiar with a storybook, encourage them to complete the sentences
About The Author
Aruna Agarwal, is the owner cum promoter of the award-winning pre-school, Kidzee in Powai. She has been running this school since the last 12 years. Her background in child psychology and her creativity helps her deal with kids effectively, especially in the age-group of 1-7years. She is amazing with counseling young moms, on the daily issues and challenges that they face with parenting, given her vast experience in the field. You can reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org