The more you expose your baby to language, the stronger his verbal skills will be. Language acquisition is a gradual process that involves many facets of development including listening, imitating facial expressions, playing peekaboo, and babbling. Your child will learn language naturally by hearing it used in context when you sing, read, talk, and listen to him.
• Your Baby: At two months, he coos and babbles. In his first year, he’ll begin making vowel sounds (oohs and aahs), and then move to new sounds and vowel-consonant combinations. Your baby is also learning the art of conversation. Bring your face close to his, and talk to him. Ask him a question and let him respond. He is learning that conversation is a two-way street.
• Your Toddler: In a verbal growth spurt, your toddler’s vocabulary expands from about 50 to 200 words. When your toddler displays emotion, give him the language to identify it. “You’re happy!” or “I can see that you’re sad.” You’ll enhance his emotional intelligence as well as his vocabulary.
• Your Preschooler: Playing rhyming games is a fun way for a preschooler who is developing phonemic awareness – the recognition that sounds make up words. Encourage him by making up rhymes and laughing together.