How Parents Can Help Foster Language Development In Children

The Importance Of Language Development In Childhood

Developing language is critical for children because it facilitates their ability to comprehend and express a range of feelings. Also important is its role in fostering problem-solving skills, cognition, and relationship-building capacity. Knowing how to use, understand, and delight in language is essential for later literacy. It is the cornerstone of reading and writing.

Tips For Sparking Language Development In Early Childhood

Perhaps the most effective way to boost language and speech development in your children is to simply speak together often about topics that genuinely interest them. Take careful note of what subjects they find fascinating by reading their cues as they point, babble, and grab different things throughout a day.

Speaking With Children

Make a concerted effort each day to speak to your child with intention, doing so as though they were already talkers, even if they are still babies. Once you are finished saying something, allow them a chance to respond. Once a child begins to babble, make a point of replying yourself. In this way, they experience what it is like to have a back-and-forth exchange and begin to enjoy the communication process.

Crafting Deliberate Responses

When a child begins to add gestures into their communication mix, make sure to respond to what they have expressed. For instance, when your son or daughter gives a head shake, indicate through your response that you believe they were saying “no.” When the child points to a specific object, provide a response that tells them you think they are asking for that exact item or expressing interest in it.

Furthermore, once a child begins using a few words, take the time to repeat what they have said, and add detail to it. For example, if a child says “banana,” you can broaden the communication by asking if they want a yellow banana. Offering these types of responses will encourage additional communication from your child, leading to an expanded vocabulary down the road.

Narrating Daily Life

Speaking aloud to your child about everyday comings and goings is an effective method of broadening the list of words heard regularly. Speak about simple things around them and routine tasks such as folding clothes, cooking food, watching animals at the zoo, and the like. The main point is to describe things using a variety of words in different settings. In this way, young kids can begin to grasp how words explain the things they see and do.

Remember that it is not essential for a child to fully grasp everything said at this stage of the game. Better comprehension will come with time. Once your youngster starts describing events in their own words, urge them to think of things in past, present, and future contexts. By way of example, when it is close to bedtime, discuss what you are planning to do tomorrow or next week. This will help them begin to understand the concept of time and how it relates to language.

Reading Together

There is no substitute for reading books together with children, even at their earliest stages of development. Reading a wide range of books as your child gets older is an essential part of their language development. Children benefit significantly from hearing words used in an array of scenarios, as it helps them get a feel for different meanings and uses of other terms.

An effective method of encouraging conversation with a young child is to connect what occurs in a storybook to that child’s everyday life. Discussing what is seen in a book’s illustration and linking that to a child’s own experience is another terrific conversation starter.

When reading with a child, it is wise to point to each word as said aloud. Doing this helps drive home the connection between spoken sounds and written words, which is an early building block for literacy. Make use of the local library as a source for a never-ending variety of new book options.

Key Language And Speech Development Milestones

Many parents are curious about specific speech and language milestones they should watch, and these are described in detail below.

3 Months To One Year Language Development Milestones

From 3-12 months, babies tend to laugh, coo, and start using communicative gestures such as waving. During this initial year, babbling is a key developmental signpost for which parents should be on the lookout.

Following the “babbling” stage is the “jargon” stage, in which babies seem to mimic an actual conversation. However, what is being said does not have any real meaning, as intentional word usage does not typically begin prior to one year of age. As a child approaches utterance of their first few words, you may notice a more significant amount of jargon use, babbling, and the like. If, by the time your child reaches 12 months of age, you do not notice any babbling, it is wise to seek consultation from a child health professional.

12 To 18 Months Of Age Language Development Milestones

During the period between 12 and 18 months, young children have the ability to say words that have real meaning. A child at this age can say “Dada” and truly refer to their father. As the next several month’s progress, children bring additional words into their vocabulary mix. Kids at this age understand more terms than they can use themselves and are generally capable of following simple instructions.

18 Months to 2 Years Language Development Milestones

During the second year of a child’s life, their vocabulary will have exploded, and it will be possible for them to create short sentences of a few words. Kids at this phase will understand a fair amount of what is said to them, and parents can usually comprehend much of what their child says as well.

While language development can vary significantly among children, if you notice that your child is not uttering several words by 18 months of age, it is best to seek advice from a child or family health professional.

Age 2 To 3 Language Development Milestones

This is a time when children can utter longer sentences that are more complicated in nature, and their pronunciation tends to improve. You may notice that your youngster plays and speaks simultaneously. Once your child reaches age three, strangers will likely be able to comprehend a great deal of what he or she says.

Language Development Milestones for 3 To 5-Year Olds

During this age range, children are capable of putting together much longer, far more nuanced conversations. Kids in this category tend to be chatty, exploring a wide array of topics. Their vocabulary will continue to expand, and children may also begin to demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of grammatical principles.

Hallmarks Of Speech For 5 To 8-Year Olds

These are the years in which children continue learning new words while also discovering how sounds work together to construct them. Kids will achieve greater refinement in their storytelling skills during this phase, and will be very expressive when voicing their own opinions. By the age of eight, kids are likely to be capable of holding mature, adult-like chats.

Differentiating Between Speech And Language Disorders

A language disorder is evidenced by a child who has difficulty understanding what is said to them (receptive language) or problems expressing their own thoughts. An SLI (specific language impairment) is a disorder that slows a child’s mastery of fundamental language abilities. In some cases, children afflicted by an SLI may not start speaking until they reach the age of three or four.

A speech disorder may be evidenced by a child’s difficulty producing proper speech sounds or the existence of a stutter. Those with apraxia of speech have a condition in which it is a challenge to assemble syllables and sounds in the proper order to produce the desired words.

How To Address An Apparent Speech Or Language Delay

If you develop concerns about your child’s progress in speech or language development, get in touch with their health practitioner for further assessment. You may be referred to a speech-language pathology specialist. This is a professional who can evaluate your child’s communication status and conduct testing to determine the next steps.

A crucial part of such an evaluation is often a hearing test. This is because hearing impairment can have a negative impact on language and speech development. Based on test results, professionals of this sort can recommend techniques for promoting further growth. An audiologist’s individual or group therapy or assessment are other steps that may be suggested to address an apparent delay in language or speech development.

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