In my baby’s first year of life I was diligent about keeping up with developmental milestones. I often referred to them to come up with suitable activities to do with my son to support his skill development. Now that he’s over-the-hill (fourteen months old), milestones just seem to blur together. However, it’s still a good idea to know what’s expected during various stages of life to recognize differences, similarities and provide appropriate support. I took a look at typical language developmental milestones during the 12-18 months age range to help me plan activities with my son and share with anyone else that has the pleasure of spending time with a little this age. I put together this list of tips to support language skill development during this crucial time period when babies are learning a great deal about communication. Give these do’s a try, skip the don’ts and your little will be talking your ear off in no time.
|Do: Load babies up with language, they are soaking it all in. Babies first words are typically nouns so name everything around you. Add a sound effect to give it extra zing!||Don’t: Go places with your baby and not talk to them. There’s lots of learning to be done in the car, grocery store, bank, restaurants. Wherever you may be, talk about your surroundings|
|Do: Encourage your baby to say and/or wave hi and bye when greeting and leaving others. Greetings develop social language skills.||Don’t: Say hellos and goodbyes without encouraging your baby to do so as well.|
|Do: Set aside a minute each day to touch and name basic body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, belly button, hands, feet). Show baby, then have baby show you.||Don’t: Let a day go by without talking about basic body parts. Bath time is a good time to do this! Babies typically begin pointing to major body parts when named during this age.|
|Do: Listen whole heartedly when your baby is talking to you though you have no idea what they are saying. When they stop, talk back to them in a conversational fashion using the context of the environment to guide you.||Don’t: Ignore your baby and go about your business. It’s very important to acknowledge your child’s efforts at communicating by responding back to them. This develops the foundation for the back and forth flow of conversation.|
|Do: Read to your baby EVERYDAY. Point out and name pictures in books and encourage baby to point to pictures too. Ask baby simple wh-questions such as “Where’s the ball?” or “What’s that?”||Don’t: Read just the print. Make sure to talk about and point out the pictures in books. Babies at this age typically begin pointing to familiar pictures/objects when named.|
|Do: Ask your baby to follow simple directions such as “Give me high-5,” “Get your ball,” “Put your cup on the table” and “Put the block in.”||Don’t: Do everything for baby. It’s important for babies to do things themselves. It develops independence and language skills.