Your baby's verbal skills continue to progress, however, as children concentrate on other milestones (such as walking), their language development may slow down slightly. His vocabulary is highly variable at this stage: he may utter his first words at 12 months and be able to say four words or more by 15 months. He may understand the meaning of many words. At approximately 18 months, there is a spurt in spoken language that often includes self-related words such as "me" and "mine" and "no!" when he's upset. Sentences may increase to two, words, such as "You go" and vocabulary may extend to 20 words.
Help him along with concise, easy-to-follow language accompanied by gestures. For example, use short sentences and simple language ("big bus", "nice cat"). Use gestures, as in shaking your head when you say “no”. Present one idea at a time, such as “Shoes on” while pointing at his feet. If you ask too much at once (i.e. “Put on your shoes, coat and hat”), he may not follow. Hold objects in front of your toddler and name them, then wait for your toddler to respond with a word, gesture or sound.
Encourage your child’s linguistic progression by taking his words and turning them into proper sentences. For example, a request for “milk!” turns into “You want more milk in your cup.” It will help him to expand his vocabulary and learn sentence structure. Play games that include simple directions, such as “Throw the ball to me.”
Between 12 – 15 months, your child will likely enjoy imitating your actions, such as talking on the phone or stirring a pot. Support your child’s burgeoning imagination with lots of pretend play: role playing, puppets, dolls, blocks, animal figures, and objects that he sees in “real life” such as play kitchen utensils, a toy telephone or a small dust broom.
Opportunities to support your toddler’s positive development are all around you. Take advantage of everyday tasks and events to help him learn and develop, all the while providing him with the best nutrition to nourish his milestone achievements.
Strong communication skills can be extremely advantageous as your child matures. Foster his language development right from the very beginning with these simple and enjoyable activities:
Healthy eating is important as it provides the energy and nutrients needed for growth and development. Your toddler will benefit from a variety of wholesome foods each day as he advances his cognitive, linguistic and social abilities.
Learn more by viewing the Amazing Milestones video on Social Skill Development.
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