“I NEED TO LISTEN WELL SO THAT I CAN HEAR, WHAT IS NOT SAID”- Thudi Madonsela
The communication skills that babies learn in their first year set the stage for success in developing reading, writing, and social skills later in life. From the first smiles, gurgles, and coos to learning to say "mama" or "dada," babies love to communicate with their own form of baby talk. And they hope you'll "baby talk" right back.
Usually we as an adult miss the developmental milestones of communication and start thinking that, “Abhi tak thik se bolna nahi sikha, ek saal ka ho gaya.”
Communication and language development is more than just talking. It means all the different ways a child understands and communicates, only part of which are spoken words.
During the first years of life, children’s brains develop rapidly and laying the foundation for learning.Long before they can speak clearly, babies understand the general meaning of what you're saying.
They also absorb emotional tone, for eg, agar hum gusse mein baat karenge toh, baby rone lagega; Hum softly smile karenge toh our babies will reward us with their cute laughter. Same you must have seen that few children speak so beautifully and softly and express very well, that can happen only when they have listened the same language since when they took birth.
So, encourage baby's early attempts to communicate with you with loving attention.
Babies communicate through their cries, coos, facial expressions, and body language long before they say their first words. From birth, babies begin to develop two sets of communication skills: receptive skills and expressive skills.
Receptive communication is the ability to receive and understand a message from another person. Babies demonstrate this skill by turning their head towards your voice.
From birth, infants use facial expressions, sounds, gaze and gestures with their bodies to let you know how they feel. In the first six months, their understanding of words and ability to communicate through gurgles, coos and repeat sounds like “baba” increases. With time they try to communicate with their baby talks.
Having conversations from the start, forms a foundation for vocabulary and social skills that enhances success in school and life. All kids are born with LAD (Language acquisition device) which contains universal grammar to help the children acquire any language/s till the critical period (birth-6years). So, it is in our hand to provide communication rich environment toour children.
Parents, family members, and caregivers are children’s most important teachers and communication models. But it doesn’t take apps, videos, or other special tools to make the most of this crucial time. Your everyday interactions with your children help build their brains and support their communication development. Usually Parents have lot of expectation from children, wherein they forget the child learns while listening to them too.
Right from the start, baby talk should be a two-way street.
• IMITATE - By imitating our babies, we send an important message: what they are feeling and trying to communicate matters to us.
• PATIENCE - Being patient as we try to decode our infant's baby talk and nonverbal communication, like facial expressions, gurgling, or babbling sounds that could signal either frustration or joy.
• ATTENTION - We need to give our baby lots of loving attention, so he can "speak" to us with his or her baby talk, even when we're busy with other tasks.
• TALK, talk, and then talk some more.
• READ every day, starting from birth. Choose books with rhymes, bright colors, different textures, and photos. Read with expression, and point to words as you say them; point out real versions of pictures from the books your read.
• SING songs and recite nursery rhymes. Vary the pitch and volume of your voice. Start Embedding songs, rhymes and finger plays into daily routine. Toddlers are very responsive to music.
• DEMONSTRATE - Sometimes we correct our kids unknowingly in a harsh way, which maybe we had only made them learn, like “Kaha se galat galat bolna sikh rahi hai, isko mum-mum nahi pani bolte hai”. So, instead of correcting the child on every wrong or babyish talk we need to appreciate her attempt to communicate and to extend her vocabulary we can demonstrate, “Accha apko pani chahiye?” (With a warm asking tone and gesture).
• PLAY games that help your child follow directions, such as Simon Says.
REMEMBER each child has his/her pace of learning language but have their own set of ways to communicate. As an adult it’s our duty to understand those communicating cues and respond. The encouragement and motivation that we provide will act as a catalyst in developing communication skills in our children.
Mrs. Anu Gupta