Language development encompasses both receptive and expressive skills. Expressive language development refers to your child’s ability to communicate with you while receptive language development is about your child’s understanding of language. Normally, receptive language skills are close to the expressive language skills. However, in some cases involving late talkers or with children who have expressive language delays, the receptive language skills are quite a bit higher than the expressive language skills. This can lead to a child being frustrated with the inability to communicate.
The basis for language development begins in babyhood with the playful interaction and attachment you have with your infant. Communication comes before your baby’s first word. Your little one’s first cries are communication because your baby is telling you that something is not right. Responding to your baby’s cries will help establish a strong attachment and help the infant know that communication is important. Playful interactions like patty-cake and peek-a-boo are not just fun for your baby, they teach your baby the joys of communication.
Spending time with your child and having fun is one of the best things you can do to help promote language. Follow your child’s lead. Talk about what he is doing or seeing. Keep your talking simple and to a minimum. Spend time listening to his attempts to communicate and respond to his attempts. Forget about teaching him to talk and focus on interacting with him. Read through the strategies on this site and use some of them with your child. Remember to keep it fun. Communication should never be a chore.
If you are concerned with your child’s development contact a speech therapist. Some children need therapy to help their speech and language skills improve.