Monday, August 2, 2010

Talking With Your Baby

One of the most important things that your child must learn is how to talk. On average, a child will say his or her first word at 12 months of age and may start speaking anywhere from 8 to 18 months of age. Toddlers are capable of speaking two-word sentences. By the time your child turns three, he or she will have a rather large vocabulary. At six years, your child will know about 10,000 words and will be a capable conversationalist.

Your child’s language skills show how well his or her brain and thought processes are developing. Children also develop emotionally and build social skills through conversation. In fact, early language skills help children to adjust more easily to difficult circumstances. That’s how important it is to learn how to communicate with others.

Research shows that toddlers with advanced language development are more likely to do well socially, academically, and behaviorally in later childhood. How and when your child’s language develops depends on the circumstance. For example, girls’ vocabulary generally grows faster than boys. Cautious toddlers who are more reserved may take more time to understand words before they begin to speak.

There are many ways you can help your child learn to talk. This can be done by finding natural opportunities in everyday situations to encourage communication. Here are a couple of suggestions to help your child’s language skills:
  • From the moment your child is born, talk to your baby. You can call the child’s name, sing to him or her and read books out loud.
  • Use “child directed speech” or CDS. CDS involves speaking in a high-pitched voice, using short sentences, pausing between phrases, enunciating clearly, using expressive emotional tones, and repeating new words in different contexts.
  • Talk to your baby during daily routines, such as when you change diapers, cuddle and feed, bathe and dress baby.
  • Repeat the noises your baby makes and encourage him or her to imitate the sounds you make.
  • Point out objects to the baby and call them by name. Say to your baby, “See the chair, see the bird, see the truck.”
  • Refer to what you are doing during daily activities. For example, say, “It’s time to change your diaper.” Or “We’re eating breakfast.”

    Talking With Your Child: