Supporting Language Development

There is a typical developmental pattern of language acquisition.

(0–3 months): Crying (2–5 months): Cooing (5–7 months): Babbling (8 months on): Comprehending words (12–18 months): Saying single words (18–24 months): Combining words (24 months on): Forming simple sentences (subject-verb-object) (24 months on): Expressing complete thoughts

Techniques for nurturing language development

Responding and turn taking: when your baby makes sounds, she is trying to communicate. respond as if you are in a conversation allowing her to speak and listen. be sure not to interrupt her so she learns that what she has to say is important. she will learn the ebb and flow of a conversation from your modeling. • Labeling: when your baby expresses an interest in an object, point to the object and tell her what it is. by “labeling” objects, you will help her to process all of the hundreds of items she comes across each day. • Imitating: you don’t always need to talk to your baby in real words. you can also imitate the sounds and faces that she makes. through imitation you are establishing a connection and letting her know that her attempts at communication are valued and recognized. • Providing choices: as your baby grows into a toddler, allow her to experience increasing independence (within reason, of course). encourage her to communicate her needs by giving her choices. limit the choices to two, which is less overwhelming. find opportunities in everyday activities for providing choices, whether it’s which diaper she should put on or what cup she wants to drink from.• Expanding: when your baby points to something and makes an attempt at labeling it, encourage her by saying the appropriate word and adding more details. for example, if she points to a duck and says “du”, you can say “yes, that’s a duck. that’s a yellow duck”. • Questioning: as your baby learns to communicate with more words, you can ask her to elaborate. even if her words are still hard to understand, asking her to expand on or explain what she is saying gives her an opportunity to sharpen her thinking and come up with more ways of expressing herself