Until your child turns one full year old, it’s going to be difficult to understand their behaviour. Once they are in the 12-18 months range, they will start making gestures that are more intelligent and indicate a degree of understanding of the outside world.
Along with mental development, your child’s speech and language abilities will also improve considerably. Noticeably, he/she will also start using language in a more recognizable way. Usually, at this stage, your baby can do a range of activities, a few of which are as follows:
1. Enjoy playing games that require them to think
2. Understand a few words that describe everyday things that he/she is familiar with
3. Understand sentences and requests like “Come”, “Sit down”, “Show me your hand” and “Stand”
4. Point to things and people that he/she knows, and also point when he/she needs something
5. Imitate gestures made by adults, like waving their hand, stomping their feet and also recognizing the correct use of things, like the phone, keys etc.
Here are a few activities we suggest will improve your baby’s speech development:
1. Engage The Child In Intelligent Conversation
Talk to your child as you would to a grown up. More often than not, kids of this age understand what you are saying to them, and are most likely to respond to you verbally, or at least will try to. Start with simple conversations, like talking to them about what they like and dislike, and pay attention to them when they reply. If they make a mistake while speaking, ask them to repeat what they said and correct them if need be.
2. Read To Them
One of the best ways to get kids to learn more words is to make them listen to the words. You can do this by talking to them also, but a more effective way of improving your child’s vocabulary is by reading to them. There are a range of children’s books for all ages that you can read from. Illustrated books have the added advantage of visuals, which can be used to engage the child to get them to point and describe what they see.
3. Practice Using Everyday Objects While Describing Them
Make your child use familiar objects like the telephone and make them say “Hello” and “Bye”. Teach your baby how to use a key (they may not necessarily learn to do this), and alongside, teach them words like “key” and “lock”.