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The right one children's language development it is a matter of great concern to parents. Will my child be behind in acquiring vocabulary? Is it normal that you still do not know how to maintain a fluid conversation? Why is it so difficult for you to pronounce the R? We have spoken with Juana Toriggia, who is an expert speech therapist in child neurolinguistic evaluation, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by parents.
1. Each child has their own learning pace
Each flower grows at its own rate and requires a certain amount of water. Well, the children, the same; everyone has their own pace of learning. Parents must learn to be attentive to this development, to detect delays in time, but at the same time we must respect their times (without obsessively comparing them with others).
For example, children are considered to start saying their first words at 12 months. However, in the case of other children, you have to wait until 15 or even 18 months. And nothing happens, each child is achieving their milestones at their own pace.
2. Let's not count words; let's look for evolution
The number of words that children are able to know, say and use correctly in a context according to their age is often discussed. For example, by 2 years children are expected to know about 50 words. This can make many parents go crazy counting the number of words their little ones can say, even becoming obsessed.
However, more important than achieving a certain number of words is to see that children continue to evolve: that little by little they improve and acquire more language. Parents must be vigilant that stagnation does not occur and if it is detected, seek help.
3. Visit a specialist if necessary
It is true that each child has their own learning pace and that, therefore, each of them develops language at different times. However, it is important to know some of the most common milestones at each age to be attentive and go to a specialist if you deem it necessary.
That our son is behind in some of the aspects of his age may not mean anything (and that we only need to wait a little for him to improve his speech). However, a consultation with a specialist will help us take our worries away.
Let's look at an example that worries many parents: 'My son is 2 years old and he says nothing more than' mom 'and' dad ', is that normal?' At the age of two, children begin a stage called 'combiner'. And it is considered that from this moment the little ones already have the ability to put two or more words together: 'mom come', 'give me water'. Therefore, if at two and a half years, our son has not achieved this milestone, it would be advisable to consult a specialist.
4. The look with the parents is the first sign of communication
Long before children begin to say their first words (which all parents look forward to), there have already been many other displays of communication. And perhaps the first of all are those looks between babies and their parents that are usually given before even two months.
Then, at approximately three months, come the social smiles; a mother who smiles at her baby and the little one who returns that smile. At four or five months, the protoconversations are given through the first babbling of the little ones. Indeed, we are talking about the very tender 'garlic' of babies; and later the 'tata' 'papa' ... Then the gestures will come ...
In fact, all of these samples are prerequisites that will allow children to develop speech later.
5. Always, always, respond to babbling babies
All parents naturally respond to our baby's babbling, even if it doesn't mean anything. And that almost instinctive reaction is very beneficial for the little ones, since they learn through imitation. Hence, we always have to encourage looks, physical contact, response to babbling, etc.
6. The key to developing children's language is talking to them
From babbling until our children are older. Interactions with us are what make children learn to speak and acquire vocabulary. Hence, we must take advantage of all the moments that occur in our day to day to talk with children and encourage spending as much time as possible with them.
Something we can do is, for example, accompany our daily actions with words: 'Let's turn on the tap', 'It's cold!', 'Let's grab these tomatoes'. In addition, we can accompany our routines with songs, with smells, with gestures ... And all this context is what will make children learn what words mean.
Therefore, we have to generate contexts that allow us to repeat some of the words that we want our children to learn. And repeat, repeat and repeat the words ...
7. The 4 things we must remember to help children develop their language
There are 4 axes that parents can never forget, since they help children learn to speak. And these are them:
The first one consists of 'Talk less', this means that we must leave spaces for children to also speak. 'Slow down' helps give them time to understand and think about what they want to say next. It is also important to use short sentences to facilitate understanding. 'Emphasizing the words' will help the little ones to better understand the speech we give them. 'Making visible', pointing out with gestures what we are talking about, will help children learn to relate words to what they refer to.
8. Always speak GOOD to your children
Many parents are tempted to use children's language (talking with the T all the time, saying 'wow' instead of dog, diminutives, badly conjugated verbs ...) because they find it cute. However, considering that children often learn through imitation, parents must speak to our children correctly.
9. This does not mean being boring when talking to children.
Speaking correctly does not mean that we should speak boringly to children or as if they were adults. And is that if we speak to children in a monotonous way, we will not get their attention. For this reason, we must use smiles, different intonations, gestures, changes in rhythm ... It is about talking to them with emotion.
10. Correct wrong words, but through modeling
It is normal for children, when they are learning to speak, to mispronounce some words, invent others or conjugate verbs incorrectly. We must correct them so that they learn properly, but it is not a question of saying: 'it is not said corporal, it is said that I can'. It is more effective to return a comment using the correct word: 'you're right, I don't fit in that box either'. In this way, we manage to generate a more relaxed and pleasant interaction.
11. Children's nutrition should be varied
It is curious, but for children to learn to articulate all sounds correctly, they must have good swallowing, chewing and breathing. Therefore, we must give our children a varied diet with some foods that force them to chew and activate the muscles of the face as well as the tongue. We must also check if children can breathe properly, if they snore while they sleep, if they have had any otitis that has left them some damage ...
12. Games without toys are a great stimulus to language
We tend to think that toys are the best tool for children to learn. However, games with people can be even more challenging. And it is that they allow us to establish direct interactions with babies or children and, with this, take the opportunity to repeat words, promote contexts so that children understand the meanings of words, establish direct interactions with them, enjoy the company between parents and the children ... Games like 'cucu tras', the horse, the hide and seek ...
13. Mobile phones do not promote children's language development
When we give a mobile device to the child, he forgets the world around him. This prevents us from having interactions with him, which, as we have already seen, is the main engine that stimulates the language of children. Therefore, the mobile or the tablet does not help children learn to speak earlier. We cannot forget, in addition, that the experts recommend that children do not have access to this type of device before the age of two.
14. The most difficult letters to pronounce for children
R is possibly the most difficult letter for children. It is expected that by 5 years children will be able to pronounce all the sounds that make up a language and, if not, the child may need an intervention with a specialist.
This will evaluate your case to propose exercises or games so that you learn to pronounce said letter. In some cases, a visit to a pediatric dentist is also recommended to rule out that the problem is caused by a badly acquired habit (breathing through the mouth, sucking, etc.).
To work on pronunciation, the best are games that allow us to incorporate words with these letters: bingo, board game boards, memory, tongue twisters ...
You can read more articles similar to 14 resolved doubts about the good development of children's language, in the Language category - On-site speech therapy.