Developmental milestones include:
- She will communicate through body language – pointing, nodding or shaking her head
- She will begin to say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
- Her sound will be more recognisable and you may hear her trying to imitate your words.
- She responds to ‘no!’ by pausing – though usually not for long
- By 12 months, she can follow a simple instruction – ‘wave goodbye’ or ‘give me a kiss’
All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your baby is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around her. But if you are worried about her development, talk to a health professional for a little reassurance.
What can I do to encourage his communication?
- Play repetitive word games with your baby. Use familiar objects or picture cards and ask ‘What’s that?’ before giving her the answer. Your baby will then learn to point at an object and ‘ask’ you a question by mimicking your tone.
- Name objects that your baby comes into regular contact with – through doing this she’ll begin to learn that everything has a name.
- Teach her to point to her body parts while you give her the name for them. – after all, she is on intimate terms with her fingers, toes, nose and mouth so she should know how to name them!
- Sing to your baby. She will quickly begin to recognise a song’s tune and then become alert to the words that go with the tune, particularly if they rhyme.
- Give your baby a chance to ‘read’ by letting her be in charge of turning the pages and take a turn ‘reading’ to you. Remember to be realistic about how careful and respectful she will be with the books she reads. Don’t hand him your precious limited edition of Peter Rabbit – the pages are guaranteed to be shredded. Instead go for something more robust – board and cloth books for instance.
Most children do not master motor skills (crawling and walking) at the same time and rate as communication skills (talking) so your child seems to be shooting ahead with one skill set, don’t be alarmed if the others seems to be lagging. Very active children often only concentrate on language after they’ve mastered walking.