Your baby’s language is developing way before he utters his first word. He’ll be tuning in to the outside world from the womb – listening to your voice and change of tones. He’ll continue doing this during the first months – figuring out what the rules of language are, and observing how grown-ups around him use it to communicate.
His first attempts at language will be no more than cries, coos, and gurgles that will turn into babbling vowel and consonant combinations in the third or fourth month. You’ll learn that language is more than words – smiles, and different cries will communicate pleasure or displeasure. Wait for the big breakthrough – his first word might come as early as six months! However, that connection between ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ and you might not be present yet. You’ll have to wait another six months for that! However, your baby probably understands way more than he can say at most points. So, avoid swearing unless you don’t want to be flattered by his imitation later on!
There are several important things you can do to help your child’s language development – and don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. For example, one of the most important things to do is to talk to and around him. It doesn’t need to be nonstop chatter – but talking to your baby will expose him to the vocabulary and attention he needs to develop his language skills. Parentese – or the melodic and high-pitched tone many adults use to talk to babies- is especially tailored to help a baby’s brain learn, so don’t be afraid to use it.
Another thing to do is to read to your baby. A few minutes a day will teach him about sentence structure, tones, and will keep him entertained! He’ll be learning new words at an incredible rate, so books are also good ways to change up the vocabulary he usually hears at home.
Listening and giving positive feedback is the last and maybe hardest of these three things you can do to help your child’s development. Being responsive to his babbling – even though it sounds like nonsense – will encourage him to keep practicing. The same applies when he starts using his first words and short sentences!
One important thing to consider is that babies will only reap the benefits when a real, live person is talking. TV or radio will not have the positive impact on linguistic abilities and IQ that talking, reading, and listening to him will.
Remember – every child speaks at his own pace. However, there are things you can do to help. Kinedu has dozens of activities to stimulate your baby’s linguistic area – make sure to check them out!
Here’s one of our faves: