Baby’s Precious First of Language Development and Early Language Stimulation
Early Language Stimulation plays a key role in infant and toddlers communication development. The child develops 70-80% of speech and language before three years of age. This period is a critical period for a child’s development as 70% of the brain maturation takes place during this period. The more we give language stimulation, the better the child can communicate in future.
By the time, the child reaches his/her first birthday; the child should be able to:
1. Respond to the mother’s voice by 1 month.
2. Recognise all the family members’ voices by 2-3 months.
3. Start making cooing sounds by 3-4 months.
4. Reciprocate to others by smiling by 5-6 months.
5. Start recognising familiar objects and respond to simple commands by 6 months.
6. Start babbling by 6-7 months.
7. Use jargon words by 10 months.
8. Use approximately 20-25 receptive vocabulary and around 3-5 expressive vocabulary.
So, What Is Early Language Stimulation?
It is a set of interaction strategies used to improve the infant’s communication. Communication can be through verbal mode, non-verbal mode or both. Early Language Stimulation says TALK! TALK! TALK! to the child in any form. It also includes storytelling, reading with children and performing arts/fine arts experiences.
The basic things involved in ELS are-
1. Eye contact and Attention of the Child
By 1-2 months, the infant starts looking at the mother. Make sure the infant/toddler looks at you when you talk to them. This helps the child to pick the language from your facial emotions and the way you talk. This in turn helps the child to reciprocate by a smile. Look at your baby when he/she makes sounds. Talk back to the baby and say what he says. Pretend to have a conversation. Respond when your baby laughs or makes faces. Sing and dance with your baby.
Imitation is one of the earliest language stimulation techniques that you can start using with your infant. The more we interact with the child, the more children learn to imitate us. Your baby will develop simple actions along with cooing/babbling sounds. Teach your baby to clap, play peek-a-boo, wave, point, etc. Talk about animal sounds like “The dog says woof-woof.” Or Vehicle sounds like “Car – pippi, bus- boom boom.
A child recognizes and learns about the object by touch. Give the baby real objects and let them touch and feel. The more the baby is near to nature, the better the baby learns.
4. Self-Talk & Parallel Talk
Keep talking to the infant/toddler about what you are doing, what the child is doing and what others are doing. Let them explore and learn new words from the environment. Use simple phrases which help the child understand easily.
5. Baby Talk
Baby talk to the child. This should include changing the pitch, and tone and tempo of the voice to make the voice easier for the child to understand. Slow speaking rates, frequent pauses, pronounced fluctuations in pitch, and clear emphasised pronunciations are some factors that can help a child understand an adult’s speech more clearly.
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