As soon as your child reaches the age of 21 months. They become your very own chatterbox. They will ask you a lot of questions and try to keep on talking with you. They started to learn new words and they try to use these words in their conversation as well. They will mimic the way you speak and the words you speak. They started to make their sentences. These sentences are composed of two to three words.
Hence the exposure to different words and phrases makes them grasp more. Thus, making vocabulary development even better and more precise. As vocabulary starts to develop and they learn new words, they will use these words more practically. It means that they will use these words in their conversations. Sometimes the utterances and pronunciation are a little bit hard to understand, it seems they are just babbling but they try to speak those difficult words and utterances which they heard.
You know, from their very birth till now they make sounds. These sounds are basically for them a medium of communication. And as soon as they grow these utterances start to get definitions as well. These sounds become clearer and more precise. Their first word is either “mama” or “dada” in most cases. So, when you hear them saying it, you have butterflies in your stomach. The feeling is indescribable and incomparable. Soon they utter a group of words and hence the vocabulary development is happening in perfect form. But sometimes you wonder whether they are proceeding at the right pace or not in language development as compared to other toddlers of the same age criteria.
You do not need to compare them with different toddlers of the same age. Children grow differently; they do not follow some identical pattern. Every child is unique in their way. Hence their development and growth also differ from one another. In some cases, some toddlers need extra help in learning to communicate.
You can help them in learning to communicate by following these tips:
- You can read the sentences or phrases and ask them to recite them back.
- Play word games to improve their vocabulary.
- Indulge with them in activities like flashcards or memory games.
- When you are doing something, spell it out and make him or she reciprocate it. This will help them to understand more effectively.
Language milestones can be treated as a success. These successes are based on language development. These can be categorized as receptive and expressive.
- Receptive – includes the hearing and understanding part.
- Expressive – this includes the speech part.
Hence to make a sound, your child needs to hear and as well as understand, what it means and for what purpose he or she can use this sound?
Mostly, children tend to speak their first word between 10 to 14 months of age. As she or he grows they start to make sentences of two to three words. These sentences will be quite easy and sometimes they do not make any sense to you as well.
There are certain milestones that you can experience or see when they are in the growth stage of speaking;
- Hence the first milestone is hearing the first word from your child. If you haven’t heard the first word from him or her do not worry, you will be hearing it soon.
- The second milestone is that he or she will make gestures while producing words, just to provide extra meaning to what they want you to tell. And as they develop and learn more words, gestures will soon fade away accordingly.
- Parts of the body – as soon as he understands the meaning of certain words, you can let him or her understand what each of the words means so next time they will point their hands or finger and let you know about it.
- The fourth milestone is naming familiar objects – they will start naming certain objects which are very frequently known to them.
- The fifth milestone is that ‘they love to listen’ – through this period, you see that they love it when you read them poems or stories, and you come to know that they love to listen to songs.
- The sixth milestone is ‘Developing and learning’ new words – they will start developing and learning new words, mostly by the age of 18 months (about 1 and a half years). These words are those which they hear from you or their surroundings. After acquiring and learning about 50+ words they will try to use them as frequently as they can. Then they will tend to increase their vocabulary till 24 months (about 2 years) of age.
- The seventh milestone can be categorized as, ‘They start acknowledging themselves with their names’ – till reaching the age of 24 months, now they start to recognize and acknowledge themselves with their names.
- The eighth milestone is ‘understanding directions’ – at this point, they will start to understand what the directions are, and they will understand them as well.
- The ninth milestone is ‘Constructing sentences’ – by the age of 24 months, they will start to make their sentences by using those words which they have learned. These sentences will be very simple, meaning they are not complex sentences.
Always remember, that your child will learn new words but he or she needs time to pronounce them properly.
Do you need to be concerned about the development of your vocabulary?
Well for an instance we can say, you do not need to worry about them because learning is different and distinctive. In some cases, there are fast learners and in some, there are slow learners as well. But each of them is a learner and you need to help them in doing so.
There are certain things which you can be concerned about;
- Unable to understand simple words – if your child is 15 months and he or she is unable to understand the very basic or simple words then you need to get concerned about it.
- Do not have much vocabulary – if your child is around 15 to 16 months and does not have much vocabulary (at least 10 words vocabulary) then you need to get concerned.
- Unable to understand directions – if your child is unable to understand or follows the directional commands after reaching the age of 20 to 21 months, you need to get concerned about it.
- Having a jargon and babbling problem – even after reaching the age of 22 to 24 months, they should be using more real words instead of babbling. If they babble or jargon, then you need to get concerned about it.
- Unable to make simple sentences – if a two-year-old child is unable to make a simple sentence of at least two words, then you need to be concerned about it.
You can consult your doctor accordingly if your child is having any of these problems. And get the right solution as well.
How can you teach them to talk?
There are different ways you can use to teach them to talk and help them to learn new words and their uses. The more you talk and teach them the better they get at it.
Some of the ways are listed below to help you teach them without making them fussy about it.
- Reading with them – reading is a very good exercise; you need to practice it more often with your child. Firstly, this will develop a habit of reading in them, which is good quality and secondly it will help them to understand words more precisely and their usage.
- Teach them to sign language – you are not proficient in sign language; you do not need to worry about it. You simply need to teach your toddler simple signs and their meanings. This will enable them to understand the language more vibrantly.
- Always use language – it does not matter that your baby cannot talk, because you can. You need to talk with them, use language, use words, and tell them about their meaning. They are small, but it does not mean you cannot talk with them and just ideally sit and wait for them to deliver sermons. You need to help them, teach them, and support them.
- Correct them if they are making mistakes – if they are using wrong words or producing the word incorrectly you do not need to cherish that, instead, you can correct them and make them realize how they need to do it.
- Teach them with fun activities – you can indulge and teach them with the help of activities or fun games. These games or activities can be very simple. For example, give them a choice. For instance, if you have two juices you can ask them which juice, they want, “orange juice or mango juice?” so this will help them understand what orange juice tastes like and what mango juice tastes like. Moreover, they can differentiate between them as well.
- Limit screen time – a 2018 study shows that longer exposure to screen time can cause language delay in children.
What if your child is not communicating?
Even after trying and exercising all the efforts, your child is still unable to speak or communicate. The possible cause behind this language delay might be an intellectual disability or hearing impairment. It also might be a sign of autism spectrum disorder (autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is a broad term used to describe a group of neurodevelopmental conditions.). You need to consult with your pediatrician or child’s doctor if you see any concerning factors which are mentioned above. Hence, you will get the right solutions for your child.
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