Learning to speak: how and when children learn to speak

Mom, dad, hum or woof: a child’s first words remain unforgettable for many parents for the rest of their lives. Find out here how and when children learn to speak and how they can be supported in their language acquisition.

Before learning to speak: communication in the first months of life

Immediately after birth, a baby draws attention to itself: it cries. Your baby will mainly communicate with you by crying in the first few weeks of life. You will quickly develop a feeling for what your baby is trying to tell you: whether it is tired, hungry, in pain or has a wet diaper. The so-called “first babbling phase” begins around the fourth month of life. Your baby chuckles and babbles happily and experiments with his voice and the sounds he makes. It will quickly internalize these throat and gargling sounds and use them more and more consciously. This is fun and eventually your baby will start laughing and cheering. It will also learn to distinguish voices and make eye contact. This helps him in his further language development.

From the sixth month of life: The second babbling phase

At the age of about six to nine months, the so-called “second babbling phase” of your child begins. It will now babble more and more to itself. It simply doubles the syllables it already knows. The first ‘ma-ma’ or ‘pa-pa’ is not far away now! The development in this babbling phase is an important step towards the formation of words, that is, the use of language by adults. Your child will now also be able to understand individual words. It associates the first sounds with objects in its environment. For example, when they hear the word ‘banana’, they turn to or point to the bananas. Show and name the important objects in the world around you or in picture books as often as possible and your child will listen and learn to name things faster. Singing and rhyming are also great ways to introduce your child to many words. In this phase, your child also learns to distinguish moods based on pitch or expression. It can tell if you’re talking to it cheerfully or energetically, for example.

Also in this phase: development of the mother tongue

A big leap in your baby’s development is that he’s no longer babbling at random. Rather, it is now based on the language that is spoken in its environment. In this way, your child sorts out the sounds that do not occur in the mother tongue and mostly uses those sound combinations that exist in the mother tongue. From the second babbling phase it is also possible to distinguish German-speaking children from children who speak other languages. Even the children themselves are able to distinguish their mother tongue from other languages.

From one year: The first words

Most children have their first correct words between the ages of 12 and 18 months. These are primarily so-called proto-words, such as “Wauwau”, which can stand for the dog on the one hand, but also for animals in general on the other. At this age, children usually understand a lot more than they can say themselves. Statistically, by 18 months, children understand 80 to 100 words but only speak about two to ten. In this way, your child can react to small requests, prohibitions or questions depending on the situation. For example, if you ask your child, “Give me the red ball,” they will likely give it to you if it’s in sight. It will also learn to respond to its own name during this time. So that your child can store a lot of information,

From the age of one and a half: connecting words

It may be that your child is now just happily chattering away and repeating everything that it overhears. But it is also quite possible that things will calm down in order to process the new information and come up trumps at a later point in time with many new words at once. The vocabulary at this age is already around 50 words. Your child can slowly connect these with each other. The first two-word sentences like “Mama Auto” are now on the agenda. And curiosity also increases. Your child has arrived at the “first questioning age” and now probably often wants to know: “What is that?”. But it also understands requests that are not directly related to the current situation. For example, if you ask your child to bring you the pen, which is not in direct sight,

From the age of two: The vocabulary keeps growing

Your child internalizes more and more words that it picks up. His vocabulary expands day by day. By the age of two and a half, most children usually already have 450 words in their repertoire and their pronunciation is also getting better and better. Your child will now also try to create their own words and combine what they have learned into longer and longer word chains. Questioning is also becoming increasingly popular in this “second age of questions”. In addition to “what”, young people increasingly want to know “why” something is the way it is.

For the third birthday: On the way to perfection

Your child’s understanding of language is almost mature at around the age of three. It is also now able to understand more abstract things that are not in its immediate field of vision. In addition, the pronunciation of words becomes more and more correct. Your child has even recognized that grammatical rules exist. This can be seen, for example, when conjugating verbs, even if this does not yet work 100% of course. So it is sometimes called “Mom go with you” or “Mom goes with you”. Your child will also speak in longer and longer sentences and get an idea of ​​​​time. So if you tell him, “After lunch we’re going to the playground,” he’ll be able to sort it out. However, larger leaps in time such as “yesterday” or “tomorrow” are not yet understandable. It’s the same with numbers. Your child can recognize singular and plural, but still has no idea of ​​the proportions behind them. The highlight of language development at this age are certainly the little “jokes” that arise from creative word creations and questions from your offspring. Fun memories are often created during this phase to entertain the whole family.

This is how you can support your child in learning to speak

Your child basically learns to speak on its own. By internalizing the following points, you can support them in their learning:

  • Be a role model: Talk to your child a lot from birth and keep eye contact as much as possible. It can also see the movements of your lips and imitate you. The imitation has a great learning effect for your baby and it also notices that it has your attention. This gives him appreciation, love and security.
  • Read aloud: Read aloud to your child. This promotes his understanding of the language and increases his vocabulary.
  • Don’t correct: Don’t correct your child’s pronunciation and grammar. This can discourage him from learning to speak. Instead, you can repeat what was said inconspicuously and pronounce it correctly. For example, if your child says “cat,” you can reply: Yes, that’s right, that’s a cat. Your child will internalize the correct form without feeling criticized.
  • Feelings: Express your feelings often with words. In this way, you can make your child understand what feelings are and how to put them into words at an early age.
  • Fully-fledged conversational partner: Conduct the conversation with your child as you would with an adult. So listen carefully to your child, let them “speak” and ask them questions. This is how you encourage your child to speak and it will certainly enjoy it.

Signs of speech or hearing problems

Healthy hearing is a prerequisite for your child’s language development. If your child chatters less and less or even becomes very still in the second babbling phase, i.e. around the sixth to ninth month of life, you should consult a doctor and have your baby’s ears examined. Other strong deviations from the developments mentioned can also be a harbinger of later speech disorders. So watch your child very closely. If in doubt, talk to your pediatrician or a speech therapist. Learning to speak is a major milestone in your child’s development. Enjoy this time consciously and be amazed every day at the great progress your child is making.

If you would like to support your child in getting to know numbers, we have beautiful learning books here for you and for arithmetic, which are also tailored to our little ones.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *