Encouraging first words
There is no reason why you can’t start encouraging your child’s communication and ‘talking’ when she is a baby. But as your child makes the transition between being a baby and a toddler, early words begin to form.
Toddler first words
Before her first birthday your baby will be able to understand simple words you say to her but usually at this stage her own utterances are still just a series of simple sounds like ‘bah, bah, bah’.
However, anytime between 12 and 16 months your child may begin to form her first words or versions of words that you begin to understand. ‘Api’ might mean apple and be accompanied by meaningful pointing (or signing), or ‘cat’ or ‘goh’ might be favourite words when she sees cats and dogs in the park.
Encourage this communication by continuing to share books with your child, inviting her to point to pictures and perhaps begin to make animal sounds with you.Although some children speak much later, by around 18 to 24 months your child may well have 10, 20 or even 30 words in her vocabulary and make the first attempts to put two or three words together, such as ‘bye dada’.
Even children who start talking late soon catch up with their contemporaries. Between the ages of two and three her language will come on in leaps and bounds.
Even if tenses are a bit mixed up, it is fascinating to see how your child’s mind works, beginning to put experience and logic together with expression.Continue to talk to your child, feeling free to use more complex phrases than she does, but making sure your child understands what you mean through your expressions, gestures and acting out what you are talking about.Some children do develop speech later than others.
And some children may stutter a lot as they get used to putting the words together. This is completely normal. However if you are concerned that your child may have a speech or hearing problem, talk to your health visitor about it. Simple tests will be able to put your mind at rest.
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