BEST STARTS FOR KIDS
Why Talking to Babies is Important
Did you know the greatest rate of learning occurs in the first three years of life?
Just between us...
From when my eldest son was born, like most other mothers, I talked to him. I made nonsense sounds using different mouth shapes. But I did one thing different.
I repeated the word 'Dad, dad, dad,' much more frequently than any other.
At the time, part of my 'tongue in cheek' reason for choosing those sounds was because I wanted my husband to hear him calling 'Dad, Dad, Dad,' in the middle of the night and get up to him, (which failed.)
But the real reason I chose 'Dad' was, it was easily recognizable for me and I wanted to find out how long it would take until I heard it back.
What age do you think my son was, when he said his first recognizable word?
It encouraged me to talk with him more. And as a result, he was speaking well by about fifteen months. I can recall, when he was twelve months old, standing on the lounge and looking out the window. He said 'Ball, sky, Mummy.' Which was his attempt to inform me about the moon.
This showed me he was already making sense of his world, linking things he knew, and then expressing it through language.
Now I tell you this information, not to brag, but simply to encourage you to open your mind. Looking forward, by the age of four, he was recalling complex dinosaur names and incredible detail about them. I used his interest in dinosaurs to scaffold his learning about other things.
By the age of seven, he represented his school in public speaking and won the local area championship. He went on to become School Captain and regularly gave speeches. My other son was also selected for and attended a merit-based GATS placement.
Both boys were selected for merit-based academic high schools. They attended university, graduated and are full-time employed in the fields they chose. I believe their success began with early language.
The language and learning you provide in your home largely sets your child up for future academic success, or failure
Smiling, getting in close and talking to babies encourages them to talk back
Carrying them, or having them nearby, exposes them to more language
Reading a book a day from around 5-6 months of age builds children's vocabulary and comprehension
You may believe it, or not, but the first time I heard my son say 'Dadada,' back was when he was only three-and-a-half months old.
Although I'd taught hundreds of kids I was astounded. As an early childhood educator, I'd always been aware how important early learning was, but I found the time frame until he repeated it incredible. But I've realized since, beginning to make repetitive sounds at that age is normal behaviour, although may often be dismissed as just cooing.
Now if I hadn't been watching for that particular sound I likely would have missed it. But for me it was the sign that my three-and-a-half month old, wanted to communicate with me. And it changed how I related to him.
Once, when we were visiting a friend in hospital, while he was still a toddler he started singing the ABC Song. Everyone, including me, stared, dumbfounded. He looked like a baby singing the alphabet. And I had no idea he knew it. It seems he'd picked it up independently from when my mother minded him and had the T.V. playing nearby.
But this is where the real benefits of early language became obvious. As a toddler he began to learn things very rapidly and often independently.
Is it possible if you assist your child to develop early language they can communicate using words and therefore don't need to resort to tantrums to express large emotions?
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