Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Language Development

During the infant/toddler years is when language development occurs. It begins with infants cooing and mimicking sounds parents and siblings make and grows into babbling. When a child turns one they use gestures and grunts to communicate. During the toddler years a parent can use basic sign language to help their child communicate. Where toddlers lack the words needed to communicate they use gestures to instead. This can be confusing and frustrating for parents as they may not know what the child is pointing at or what the gesture means. When parents teach toddlers to use sign language the toddler can use the sign to communicate what they want instead and when the sign is used along with the word it helps toddlers grow their vocabulary and be able to communicate. Some basic signs parents can teach their children are water, milk, please, thank you or read.

Ways parents can encourage a child's language skills are to first find constructive and sensitive ways to encourage language development (sign language does this). Parents can encourage any attempt to say a word and use a variety of language in conversation and word games. When parents talk to their children about what they're doing it encourages language in a variety of ways because when you talk to your children while preparing dinner is different than when you're interacting with them. Language is used for a variety of purposes such as to give directions, encourage, warn or used when a parent is talking while changing a diaper. How a parent speaks in each situation is different and helps develop language.

Other ideas parents can do to develop language skills is to read to your children, sing songs and listen to music. Both reading and music develop language skills because they repeat sounds and syllables. Be patient with your children as they learn to communicate with words. They're going to make what appears to be mistakes, but be patient with them. They're learning and are just as frustrated as you when they can't communicate what they want. Don't insist they get it right and particularly not the first time. Your child will get it and they're understanding far more than they're expressing. At this stage it's about the attempt and development of their vocabulary not  being able to say a word correctly yet. Don't worry about that until around age three.

Here is a link about basic words to use using sign language for a baby.

Baby sign language quick start

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