Language learning starts at birth and each step in the continuum is as important as the next. It is crucial to start your child off on the right foot in order to build strong language skills.
Here you will find a quick overview of baby language development and activities to foster speech and language development.
Speech and language development starts from the day a baby is 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. Language allows us to understand our world and express ourselves. It is also the basis for reading and writing abilities.
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!
Read our informative Baby Talk eBook. It is a must read for all new and veteran parents. It is important to start language learning off on the right foot!
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.
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, start at birth! This is an easy way to introduce your little one to reading, how books work, and provide lots of speech and language practice.
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 your baby's 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.
Once you have your books, you are ready to start reading. However, there is actually a right and wrong way to read books. Learn more about how to read to babies here at baby books.
You can sing common nursery songs or make up your own. Just playing CD’s or Pandora though will not have the same effect.
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, and/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 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.
For games to avoid with your baby, please click here: Toys You Don't Need
Don't forget to check out our Baby Talk eBook....it really is a MUST!