- Baby development
- When babies learn to speak: How to encourage, help& supports you
Baby development: from babbling to speaking – Already in the womb your baby hears your voice and therefore your speech. Deciphering the meaning of words and recognizing language rules, however, is something your baby doesn’t learn until he’s been in the world for a few months.
An overview of the development steps
The current state of linguistics and developmental psychology assumes that babies are basically born internationally. This means that in the first six months they babble a wide variety of sounds before they adapt their range to the speech environment. Even deaf babies try out a variety of sounds in the first six months of life. After the sixth month, this decreases in them, due to the lack of hearing and speech experience.
It usually takes 1.5 to 3 years before you can converse with your little one in a way that you can easily understand. The beginning of speech development that is perceptible to the environment is marked by the constant trying out of certain syllables, such as "Bababa" or "mommy". This happens in the fourth to fifth month. Before often fall sounds like "ggrhh or "irrrrre", which have for many fellow men a high entertainment factor.
From the fifth month, many parents observe that their child tries to imitate sounds and babbles a lot to itself. Since it often uses the same speech rhythm and tone of voice as its own environment, the statements that are still incomprehensible seem somehow meaningful and familiar. Similar to crawling or walking, development and testing of one’s own sounds and speech abilities are completely individual.
While some babies hold one monologue after the other with themselves and try out certain syllables again and again with joy in the most different volumes and pitches, others are quiet at first and surprise for it later with clear syllables and even words. Parents can therefore expect the first word in a relatively large time window. Already with seven months or then nevertheless only with 18 months the time is determined from development-psychological view for it.
By the age of two, your child’s vocabulary consists of about 200 words. Around the second birthday, your child learns over 10 words a day. In conjunction with the realization that your baby sees himself as his own person, he now uses language to show what he likes or dislikes.
After the second birthday, many toddlers already speak two- or three-word sentences. Already one year later, longer conversations are possible without problems, even with strangers sympathetic to the child. At the age of two to three years, many children speak out what they are thinking, intending and planning at the moment. This is extremely exciting for many parents.
Good, experienced speakers sometimes figure out, through older children or adult role models, that there is written language in addition to speech by age three. However, most children do not reach the cognitive maturity to use and understand them until they are five to seven years old.
Helping and supporting your baby to learn to speak
Practice makes perfect, also in language development. Studies even show that children of parents who have spoken to their child a lot since they were babies have a higher IQ. Singing together also has a positive effect on language development.
Although it is fun and right to explore the variety of sounds and baby talk with your baby in the first few months, you should gradually talk to your child in a more normal way. This makes it easier for your child to learn the language grammatically correctly and to develop a large vocabulary.
Always talk to your baby face to face. They will carefully observe your lip movements in order to eventually find and formulate the appropriate words themselves. Read aloud a lot to expand your baby’s vocabulary in a playful way. Listening to the radio and radio plays or watching television hardly support language development, according to linguistic studies.
Furthermore, you can help your baby learn to speak by:
play with him. This trains speech comprehension on the one hand and fine motor skills on the other. Since the brain area for language is closely linked to that for fine motor skills, you are supporting your child in this way in two senses.
- blow bubbles with your child. Here you promote the mouth muscles and breathing technique. Difficult sounds, such as "ssss or "sh" can be pronounced more easily.
- using memory and quartet games as language learning games and telling a little story to each card in turn. Around the age of 2. Year of life.
- Rhythm games. Recent studies show that children with a good sense of rhythm are also very well developed linguistically. People with language problems often also have difficulties to follow a rhythm or a rhythmic pattern. tapping along.
- gently correct your child without criticizing him/her. You can achieve this by repeating the sentence correctly in an answer (example: "Mama, Datze nat gedrugn." -> "That’s right, the cat has been drinking.") If you tell your baby too often that he is saying something wrong, he may not want to speak for the time being.
Speech defects and their causes
If your baby suddenly starts to stutter or makes more speech errors, you should not be alarmed right away. Many toddlers experience such a phase and leave it behind with the next linguistic developmental spurt. If this is not the case, experienced speech therapists can help to successfully overcome this language barrier.
In some cases, a change in situation can also lead to a changing or even worsening speech pattern. They include, for example:
- Suddenly being together with peers at the childminder’s, where everyone is suddenly talking in "baby language talk and understand or
- The birth of a sibling, which may cause an already large baby to want to be perceived as a very small one again.
These developments are usually only temporary and require only a little patience and love until the next linguistic progress follows.