Keep talk­ing to your kids so they can learn

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

A CHILD’S lan­guage de­vel­op­ment in their early years in­flu­ences their abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate and re­late with the world around them. In turn it can im­pact their prospects both in terms of so­cial and ca­reer de­vel­op­ment.

While peo­ple of­ten speak about the first year as im­por­tant, it’s also true that vi­tal learn­ing con­tin­ues through­out the early years.

Many par­ents do worry about whether their in­fant, tod­dler or pre-schooler is de­vel­op­ing their lan­guage skills at the same pace as their peers.

Talk with your baby, not at them

The key is to talk to­gether with your chil­dren fre­quently and nat­u­rally, even when they’re a baby. Treat their sounds and bab­bles like a re­sponse to what you’ve said.

Your child will un­der­stand a lot more than they can say for the first three years of their life, but the very foun­da­tions of lan­guage oc­cur in the first 12 months.

Try to in­tro­duce new words from an early age and talk about what’s around them so they can see how the word is used.

First words and sen­tences

In the first 12 months your child will progress from bab­bles to what is known as jar­gon phrases. These phrases sound con­ver­sa­tional in tone, but are a string of un­in­tel­li­gi­ble sounds.

At some­where be­tween 12 and 18 months of age your child will gen­er­ally start say­ing their first words. They’ll then keep adding to their vo­cab­u­lary. If they’re not say­ing words by 18 months, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP or a WBHHS child health nurse.

It’s im­por­tant you keep talk­ing with your chil­dren so they can widen their vo­cab­u­lary. As they ap­proach the age of two they should be string­ing two or more words to­gether in short “sen­tences”.

Christo­pher McLough­lin

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