Almost all children pick up on their speech capabilities at a very young age without any formal instruction. Human beings, are, after all born to talk and this trait is indeed an innate gift for your child. While they are not born to talk immediately, children as babies use cries and gestures to convey meanings. They also seem to immediately grasp whatever message you are trying to convey to them by making sense of your body language as well as your gestures.
Most children say their first words between 12 and 18 months of age. By age 4 to 5 years, they begin using complex sentences. As they hit the kindergarten age, your child should by now know most of the fundamentals of their language and be able to converse easily with someone at their level.
However, as a parent you should understand that each child has different aspects of speech development. While one child may say his or her word at 10 months, another could do the same only at 20 months.
Helping Your Child Along The Way
Not to worry – as a parent, you can play an important role when it comes to helping your child develop his or her skills. The first thing you should realise is that children learn at different rates. Some are fast learners; others are slow. To begin teaching your child, you should not judge based on the speed but instead focus on whether your child’s language development proceeds steadily.
The way you engage with your child will determine his or her language development, which is vital in the first five years. A few things to keep in mind are these:
- Enjoy the process. Don’t force your child to learn faster than normal or put stress upon the learning process. It should be an enjoyable process for the both of you.
- Keep it natural. Remember, you are talking to someone who is obviously not at the same level as you are. So talk in a natural way that your child understands and comprehends.
- Listen to your child. Pay attention to what your child is saying and listen to the sounds and words that he or she is saying. This way, you are able to better respond to your child and help him or her progress further.
- Make it fun. Learning should be a fun process, not arduous. Do activities that will not only teach your child but also make it fun to do together. For example, read stories together and make communicating fun so your child is more eager as well as encouraged to learn.
- Be mindful of your own language. Want your child to learn properly? Then, be mindful of the language that goes around in your household. Having bad habits will only mean your child will pick up the same.
One important advice – don’t pay too much attention on the “problems” (such as pronunciation). Most children generally outgrow such things, which is a common issue. However, if your child displays signs of not being able to comprehend you or taking longer than usual, then you may seek advice from specialists in children’s speech, language and hearing.