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Language development in your child is one of the most important developmental milestones which prepares them to communicate effectively as they grow older. Understanding how you can help your child achieve this can be essential in building a strong foundation to help him through this process.
Learning how to communicate with others using words and sentences is a skill that your baby learns through active listening in his early childhood. This skill can help him express himself in the later stages and become a solid foundation for literacy and communication.
Stages of Language Development in Early Childhood
Language development in children takes place gradually and in different stages since childhood. Listed below are the various stages of language development since early childhood.
Three to twelve months
Your baby has a basic understanding of emotions like love, anger, and affection and responds to them with his unique coos and babbles. At this stage, if you notice that the babbles resemble any word, you can encourage him to speak. Babbling can be an important aspect of language development as this is the first manner of communication your baby has. At this stage, your baby will respond to his name being called and may even be able to speak out simple words like ‘ba’, ‘ma’, ‘da’, etc, as these are easier to pronounce.
Twelve to eighteen months
By now, your baby should be able to say single words and will try to imitate what you speak. He will also try to communicate more often and it is important that you encourage him by responding to him. You will also need to speak to him in order to help him grasp new words and sentence.
Eighteen months to two years
Your baby will have included more words to his vocabulary by this age. He can understand and speak around 300 words and also try to string a short sentence together. Although language development in each child varies, if your child hasn’t been able to speak simple words at this stage, it is essential that you consult a professional for further guidance.
Two to three years
Your baby’s vocabulary would have further improved and he will be able to speak longer sentences. He will also be able to comprehend what you are saying much better. His communication ability will improve and others would be able to understand what he is saying. He may also be able to multi-task as he plays and speaks at the same time.
Three to five years
As his curiosity grows, you can expect your child to ask you many questions and speak more complex sentences. He will able be able to understand more complex grammar and use it in his conversation. This can be a great time to encourage him to read books and enhance his vocabulary as well as improve his grammar.
Five to six years
By now, your child can understand what his teacher says and responds in a coherent manner. He should also be able to recognize more words and use them in sentences. Reading a book to him and engaging in intelligent conversations with him can help him improve his vocabulary and grammar.
Effective Ways to Encourage Language Development in Kids
During these stages, you can engage your child in different simple and fun activities to encourage his language. Here are a few activities for language development in early childhood.
1. Read him books
Reading bedtime stories is one of the best ways to introduce new words to your kid. You can practice this from a very young age and make a habit out of it.
2. Have intelligent conversations
Even though your child may not be able to respond effectively, you can still speak to him like he understands you. He will be listening to you and may even attempt a proper response.
3. Listen to music
Listening to and singing rhymes can help him pick up certain words and understand their rhythm.
Make it a habit to repeat what your child says with the right pronunciation and grammar rather than criticizing him for it.
5. Limit the use of computers and television
Excess screen time is linked to delayed language development by some studies. Hence, only permit your child to watch activities that will allow him to improve his language.
6. Take your child out
Visiting a new environment can feed your child’s curiosity and he will want to know what the new things around him are called. This can be a great way to improve his vocabulary.
7. Speak about things your child is interested in
This can encourage him to be an active part of the conversation and speak more.
8. Introduce new words gradually
Don’t try to flood him with words. Add new words to the conversations step by step so that he understands and retains their meaning.
What Is The Difference Between Language And Speech?
The words that your child understands and uses during his communication form a language. This includes the ability to write as well as speak. Speech, on the other hand, is your child’s ability to create sounds which form words.
Signs of Developmental Delay in Kids
Your child may have a developmental delay in learning his language if the following signs are observed:
- He doesn’t babble or try to talk
- He hasn’t said ‘mama’, ‘dada’ or other simple phrases
- He doesn’t point out at things and try to speak out their names
- He hasn’t learned to say single words
- He hasn’t been using hand gestures, pointing or waving
- He does not respond when you give simple instructions
- He does not imitate words or actions
- He hasn’t been able to string words together to form simple phrases
- He stutters often
- He cannot interact with others effectively
- He does not use pronouns like ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘you’ properly
Language learning in early childhood is important to ensure that your child understands what is being said to him and is able to respond. It also forms a key aspect of communication, learning, and even his future relationships. Once your kid is able to use words in accordance with their meanings and purpose, he will be able to express himself better. This will help boost his confidence and help him give his opinions more articulately. In case you notice that your child hasn’t been able to communicate well or say simple words, you will need to consult an expert to understand the reason and get him the required therapy.