Tips to make the most of the early months of language development
To many parents, a child’s first word is the start of one of the most exciting periods of development. However, did you know that before that first word is even said, a child has already learned some of the most important skills they will need to communicate with others?
From their first day infants communicate using lots of sounds, facial expressions, eye content and movement. However it is only through interactions and responses from adults that babies learn that this early communication has meaning and can be used to share specific things that they want to say. By noticing and responding to their infants, parents are giving their children the tools to attend, copy, and watch others.
Try these tips to make the most of these early months of language development
Watch for your child’s communication
Young children and babies communicate in small ways, and a parent needs to watch and be ready to respond. Look for eye gaze, gestures like pointing and reaching, facial expressions, sounds, and movements.
Respond and keep it going
When your child communicates with you, respond back by copying what they just did. Often, a child will notice and do it again! If they smile, smile back. If they make a sound, make a silly sound back. Be sure to wait a few seconds after copying to see if your child will do it again – if we go too fast they may not be able to respond in time.
Be careful with screen time
While TV, phones, tablets and video games are not recommended for children under the age of two, it is also important for parents to consider how much screen time there is for adults as well. If a parent is focused on TV or a phone, it makes it much harder for them to attend and notice their baby’s early communication. Be mindful of when you have your phone out during the day.
More information on speech and language development can be found on our website: speech and language development for children