Here you will find a quick overview of baby language development and activities to encourage your baby to learn speech and language.
If you are short on time, baby language games now. If not, PLEASE READ about how to play with your baby and why play is so important.
Speech and language development starts from the day we are born. During the first year of life, babies learn the sounds of their native language, turn taking skills, how to say some speech sounds, basics of communication, etc...
Why are these early years so important for language development? Language skills are complex and build on each other. Oral language allows us to understand our world and express ourselves. It is also the basis for reading and writing abilities.
Convinced yet on the importance of baby language development? I hope so!
For more in-depth information, read how baby language development fits in with speech and language development.
First off, playing is not silly, frivolous, or a luxury. Playing is work for our children and it is by far the most effective way to learn!
Playing is one of the most important things you can do to foster baby language development and create a loving bond along the way.
The best part is…playing is fun!
Remember PLAY with your child every day.
This is the easiest one! Talk about your day as you are doing it. Tell your child what you are cooking, what he or she is eating, what you see on a walk, or the steps in changing a diaper.
It can be hard to talk all day without someone responding, but trust me, your baby is listening and appreciates all the new words he or she is learning.
Start at birth! This is an easy way to introduce your little one to reading, how books work, and provides lots of speech and language practice at that same time.
Research has shown that a baby's language will develop faster when reading is part of his or her daily routine. The best books to develop your baby’s language are peek-a-boo and touch and feel books. They mix motor skills with language skills and may keep their attention a bit longer.
Okay....this one isn't necessarily free, but you can borrow books from friends or check out books at your local public library.
The emergent literacy theory states that our reading abilities start at birth. Our verbal language skills and awareness of books are both precursors to our success with reading.
So get reading! These are a few of my favorites!!
Click on the image below to check out my favorite baby books!
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You can sing common nursery songs or make up your own. Just playing CD’s or Pandora though will not have the same effect.
Clear your throat and start singing! Singing helps with language and cognitive development, and it will bring smiles and comfort to your baby. Singing also is a mood enhancer for babies.
Under 3 months of age, your baby may like how the trees move or the sounds of birds, dogs or cars. Their sight may not allow them to see much but they will enjoy the sunlight and breeze.
By 6 months of age, your baby will start to turn towards sounds he or she hears outside. Start to name those objects that your baby hears.
By 9 months of age, your baby may follow cars, wave "hi" to people walking on the street, or point to animals. Encourage the development of these early language skills by modeling them.
Peek-A- Boo and other social games are fun ways to teach our children cause and effect and joint attention while getting lots of smiles along the way.
Cause and effect is an important cognitive skill. Joint attention builds the foundation for language development and social skills.
How to play with your baby: This is not as intuitive as one would think, most likely because parents are bombarded by the media, friends, and books with what they should and shouldn't do.
Here is my advice...Turn off the TV and put your phones away! Be present and silly like a child. Get on the floor. Have fun and relive your childhood again as you introduce your baby to the world.
Remember, everything is new and exciting for your little one. However, their attention span is short so be prepared to be busy and creative!
How to speak to your baby: For baby language development, the best way to talk to your little one is with “baby talk." Click here to read about the benefits and how to do baby talk.
By 6 months of age, your baby will start to prefer certain toys and this will only increases with time. If your baby doesn't enjoy a certain toy or game, don't worry.
Follow your child’s lead and don't force toys because you think they are good. Your child will learn more when she is content.
For games to avoid with your baby, please click here: Toys You Don't Need
For my toy recommendations, please click here: Store 0-2 Years Old
Do you have a great activity or game that you play with your baby? Is it free or less than $5? Does it help language development? Please share so other parents can learn!
Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.