0 – 12 MONTHS

Your Baby & Toddler - - Baby Files: Toddler -

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.

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