The Development of Your Child's Language
The development of language begins before your child says his first word. It starts with a newborn’s cry for food, comfort or company. As they grow, babies start to recognize different sounds and differentiate between them.
Language development may vary from one child to another. Some might master language at an early age and others may experience speech delay due to language disorder or hearing loss. The first three years are very important for your child’s brain development. During this phase he will be exposed to many sounds, words and different type of languages. He will be acquiring speech and languages skills.
Every child goes through a series of stages outlined as per the below:
- Pre-linguistic stage (0 -12 months): During this stage, babies learn how to communicate with their parents and understand what is said to them. They start to babble, respond to their names and imitate simple words as “mom”, “dad”, “ball” and many others.
- Linguistic stage (15 months to 8 years): Kids start to use words then gradually put words together to form sentences.
- At the age of 3 years their speech is understood by adults, they pronounce correctly, imitate adults and handle a sentence of three words easily.
- At 4 years old, their vocabulary is extensive and begins to describe others; they can name objects in pictures, digit and understand concepts as longer, larger, small or big.
- At 5 years old, sentences are used correctly and they can use many descriptive words.
- At 6 years old, kids understand opposites and classify according to colors, forms and numbers. Their speech is completely intelligible.
- At 7 years, they become aware of mistakes in their speeches and others’ speeches.
- At 8 years, they are able to carry a conversation with an adult more easily and begin to read appropriate texts and write simple compositions.
How to support your child’s language development?
- Sing nursery rhymes with your child. It will help him to memorize the words and actions.
- Talk about your day. This will help him to connect words to his environment.
- Never use baby talk with your child.
- Read a book every night. Use “lift the flap” books to draw his attention. Use books according to his age.
- Offer him educative toys as numbered cubes or puzzles.
- Use gesture while talking to your child. It will help him to understand instructions.
- Listen to your child while talking. Do not interrupt him. Give him time to explain what he is trying to show you.
Language is very important for each child’s development. Children speech development depends on how much your child is exposed to a rich language environment. It affects your child’s social and academic life. If you feel that your child has a delay in his language development, you should seek advice from a specialist to determine the cause and treat it.