6 to 12 Months

Picture of baby in pink pajamasGROWING WITH LANGUAGE

Throughout the years of your child’s life, you may find great pleasure in sharing language together. Conversations between you will enable you to answer your child’s questions about the world and give you a glimpse of what is going on in her head. Communication between parents and children can be the “glue” that holds them together through difficult periods. Establishing a pattern of communication begins in infancy, through conversation, through reading books, and through language play.

Although it is often difficult to pinpoint a baby’s first word, most babies will speak a word with meaning sometime between nine and 15 months. The age at which a baby says a first word is not related to his intelligence or even necessarily his eventual language ability, so don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t speak for a while. He will almost certainly be trying out many new sounds (“ga-ga,” “ba-ba,” “bye-bye”), but they may not yet have meaning. He will practice and explore these sounds when he is alone in his crib and in hhis “conversations” with you. You may hear him imitate the rise and drop of your voice and even the actions you make with your hands.

Remember, he understands far more than he can say! He is learning a great deal by what you say to him, so keep talking. Research has demonstrated that babies babble more often when their parents respond to the noises they make. Your conversations with your baby will encourage his speech and, more importantly, help him add to his understanding of the world.

FINGER PLAYS

A combination of bouncy rhymes, body movements and simple hand gestures will be enjoyed greatly by your child in the months and years to come. Some examples are Pat-a-Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider and This Little Piggy Went to Market.

As you introduce finger plays, choose one at a time to share with your baby. Begin by chanting or singing the rhyme out loud as you take your baby’s hands in yours to do the gestures. After repeating such a rhyme several times over a period of days, you will notice your baby beginning to move his hands or squirm in anticipation of the finger play.