0 – 12 MONTHS
Research shows that babies start “learning” their mother’s language in the womb and that the building blocks for grammar, sentence construction and even correct pronunciation are laid down at this early stage already. Newborn: When your newborn is lying in your arms she might not be able to talk, but she can communicate with you already, mainly by crying. She’ll be interested in your facial expressions, recognise familiar voices and react to loud sounds. When you talk to her, she’ll stick her tongue out and draw it in and move her lips as if she wants to talk back to you. At three months: She’ll start making chatty noises and become more experimental with sounds. She’ll also “answer” you when you speak to her, and make noises in order to attract your attention. The best thing you can do for baby’s language development is to talk to her as much as possible. Don’t be scared of talking in “another” voice. From six months: Baby’s sounds acquire voice modulations. She reacts to her name and to various voices even if she can’t see the person. She smiles when she hears a friendly voice or cries when she hears an angry one. You can start reading now already. Choose books that have only one picture on a page. Talk to her a lot and give her lots of time to “answer”. Sing to her, and praise her when she “talks”. At 12 months: The big moment has arrived! Your baby will meaningfully use her first words. But, she already understands a lot more, including simple questions such as “Where is the light?” It will give her great joy to practise different voice modulation patterns, and she starts using her speech socially. She also realises that she can manipulate situations with speech. Keep on talking and reading, and play games in which you name her body parts. Sing action songs. If she points to something, say what it is. The more words she hears, the more easily she’ll remember them.