Parenting articles, news and tips on raising happy, healthy, successful kids and teens. Language and speech development of children of early preschool age skills are critical to a child’s development.
Good communication makes them better able to engage in socialization and to learn from their environment and from formal classroom instruction. Phonology involves the rules about the structure and sequence of speech sounds. Semantics consists of vocabulary and how concepts are expressed through words. The first, syntax, is the rules in which words are arranged into sentences. Pragmatics involves the rules for appropriate and effective communication.
From birth on, children are programmed to develop speech and language. The first five years are most critical but language development continues throughout early childhood and on into adolescence. During the first five years stimulation of language development is important as the brain is both developing new nerve cells as well as multiple connections between nerve cells to serve the function of language both expressive and receptive. In the early stages of language development, the brain is programmed to attend to speech sounds and begin to mimic them. Early on babies like to make sounds up on their own. Children usually say their first words between nine and 18 months old.
What’s kind of interesting is no matter what language children are raised in, the first words usually reference either mother or father. By the age of 18 months a child usually has a vocabulary of 50 to 150 words. By two they can probably use over 300 words and understand about 1,000 words. Around 3 years of age, children begin to use language for all kinds of things. They are not only trying to get things by asking they are talking about past experiences and even beginning to use it to pretend. There language is becoming more like that of adults. In elementary school children continue to expand their use of oral language but are also learning to read a write.
As children progress through middle school and high school they continue to expand their vocabulary and refining their grammatical skills and write in more complexities as well as continue to develop reading comprehension skills. The tables below describe specific skill development for each stage of development through age 8. Below the developmental time line you will find information on how you can stimulate and encourage language development as well as information on how to recognize lagging development and what to do about it. Verbally respond to your baby’s vocalizations. Point and name things that they see. Uses exaggerated voice when you describe things. Sing to your child from babyhood until they ask you to stop.
Have older children make up songs. Use songs to communicate things like time to go to bed, time to clean up, etc. Make of songs that are silly or that communicate affirmations related to their positive qualities. Initiate conversations with your child related to recent events, what they are doing.
Make up stories along with your child. This not only stimulates language but thinking, creating and a sense of humor. Gradually increase the complexity of grammar and vocabulary you use to communicate. Provide children with expanded information about events, things they see and how they feel. Read interactively to engage their participation.
Ask questions, use dramatic inflections, let them guess what will happen next, point to pictures and describe them, ask your child to do the same. Have dinner together at the table and encourage conversation. When you go out to dinner, keep the electronics at home or turned off. After seeing a movie or TV show talk about what happened. When they finish a book get their thoughts and feelings. Recognizing Problems Check out the time lines and look for delays.
Remember that there is quite a range of time for the achievement of each milestone. If you feel there is a delay, discuss it with your child’s primary care physician. Look for poor eye contact and lack of attention and focus. Listen to how they pronounce words. Are they having trouble with basic social skills? Does your child not seem to be interested in having you read to them? Do they repeat what you say or say the same thing over and over?