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Toddler Milestones and Language Development



Some research says that distinguishing sounds happens as early as the fetus stage - that is why it is common practice to speak to your baby even while they are in your womb. Even when a baby is born, they react to sounds, are able to follow their favourite people's voice, and as they start growing up are able to react to WHAT you are speaking. This is part of development of receptive language abilities.

This is also why it is often said that

Thought is faster than speech

This is because, while a child is able to comprehend what they are hearing, they begin to express themselves verbally only around 11 months of age at the earliest. And do not worry, for some kids it happens earlier, for some kids it may take some time. Language development is a process, and our experience with our toddlers in creche, in preschool, and even in online preschool classes has taught us a lot, and we would like to share some tips on that

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT - SOME TIPS

* Encourage your child to speak

* Give them time to process their thoughts, and let speech catch up to that

* DO NOT COMPLETE THEIR SENTENCES. This disrupts their thought process

* Be patient. I know this may be easier said than done at times, but this is a crucial step for language development

* Language development can continue till as long as 3 years. Some kids take a little longer to say complete sentences, but it can also be because they are conscious to speak incorrectly before that. Give them time, and keep close watch in case you feel that the delay is due to reasons which need to be investigated. However, be sure to not express your insecurities in front of your child - discuss these with a teacher or a professional to get a second viewpoint, but stay natural with your child

* Your child is an individual with their own thought process. Letting them communicate in their own manner helps them express their individuality and also helps aid their own creativity

* Your kids may falter in the early years when they are learning to express themselves. For the most part, this will happen because by the time they are speaking, their thought has already moved on to the next step. This is natural, do not make them conscious, give them time

Always remember, communication is the first step towards language development, and communication is a two-way street, not one-way. We practice the same with our early learners, and it is very important that you do the same at home. 

Do not speak at your child, speak with them

For an 18 month, or even a 3 year old, language development is not just a milestone to be achieved, it is a key aspect of early learning, which starts at home, and must be rightly done with the support of teachers at school. If you feel the school is doing something not right, then please do take it up with them. And if the teacher is giving you some input, then listen to it and reflect on it, they are also only looking at your child's best interest. It may take a lot of effort for you to be neutral at times, but you must do it.

And like any other learning process, it takes time, it needs patience, and it needs a lot of love and support of the other key players in a child's life. Empathy is key. 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRESCHOOL OR DAYCARE

This may seem insignificant, but always question your choice of preschool on daycare and see if their philosophy aligns with yours, or whether they are flexible enough to accommodate this. Your child's development and right input to early learning is extremely crucial, and you need to find the right set of facilitators for that. 

Their approach is more important than all the fancy infrastructure they can provide. So never hesitate to discuss. Also, this is an ongoing process, so periodic inputs from both parties are crucial to ensure a change in tactic is employed where necessary.

Your child should, and will always be at the centre of the whole equation.



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