How having a chat can help cement your bond
Hugging, smiling, singing and chatting with your baby or toddler is more than just enjoyable. These day-to-day moments strengthen the bond you share and help your child learn to connect and communicate with the wider world.
Most babies say their first words at 12-18 months
Your child’s language explodes after this as he moves from using single words to putting together simple sentences. He’ll start to understand and follow simple requests, like ‘Bring me your book’ or ‘Wave bye-bye’. By the age of three years, strangers will probably be able to understand most of what he says, even though he’ll still struggle to express some words clearly.
What’s the best thing you can do to encourage baby and toddler talking and language? Talk with your child – the more the better!
The more words children hear, the more words they learn. It’s great to start talking with your baby as early as you can. From birth, your baby absorbs a huge amount of information about words and talking, just from listening and watching you talk.
Simple, enjoyable interactions and play with you
encourage your child’s talking and language skills. Try these ideas:
Worried about your baby’s language development?
- Repeat your baby’s attempts at words to encourage two-way conversation – for example, if he says ‘mama’ you could say ‘mama’ back to him.
- Expand on basic words or efforts to communicate. For example, when your child points or says, ‘train’, you say, ‘Yes, it’s a big red train’.
- Chat to your child about the things you’re doing around the house, even if you think they’re boring – for example, ‘Daddy’s vacuuming the carpet to get rid of the dust that makes you sneeze’.
- Read and tell stories with your child from birth, every day if you can.
- Share songs and nursery rhymes.
- Notice what your child is paying attention to and talk about that. For example, if he’s playing with blocks, talk about the blocks.
All babies and toddlers develop language and speech at different rates. If your child doesn’t do something at the same age as other babies, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be worried.
But sometimes delays in communication skills can be signs of more serious developmental disorders. If you’re worried about your child’s language development – for example, if your baby doesn’t babble or doesn’t seem to listen when others are talking – talk to your child and family health nurse, your GP or another child health professional.
If your health professional doesn’t have concerns about your child, but you still do, it’s OK to seek another opinion.
This story was published courtesy of the Raising Children Network.