The words we speak or the language we use is what helps a child communicate his ideas and allow parents to teach the child everything. From the development of parent-child relationships to listening, reading, writing, understanding different concepts, learning different subjects, self-control to making friends and other connections, communication plays an important role.
Beginning with a cry, a baby’s communication skills improve over time.
From birth to 3 months
During the first three months of a baby’s life, crying is his only form of communication. He will express everything from hunger, sleepiness to pain with a cry. At this age, a baby will also capable of smiling at his mother. When the baby turns 2 months old, he will start to make single noises like Ó’ and will begin to respond to sounds by turning.
At the age of 6 months
He will make noises to express happiness, interest towards different things and enthusiasm. He also will laugh out loud. A 6 months old child will comfortably pronounce constants in Sinhala alphabets like Ma, Pa and Ba and will try to make the same sound again and again.
Eg- Ba ba ba, Ma Ma, Ap ap
When the child turns 1 year old
He will make different noises connecting 2 or 3 sounds. Most of the times he will respond to his name and will tend to use different movements to express ideas.
Eg- Waving hands, raising his hands asking to hold him, trying to pick what he needs using his hands, speak meaningful words
Eg- Will speak simple words such as Amma, Thaththa
At the age of 5-6 years
When a child turns 2 years old he will speak at least 2-3 simple words. Plus, the child will respond to simple questions such as "where’s your mother?" or "do you need water?."
During this age, the child will use words to request what he wants. When he is almost 3 years old you’ll notice a huge improvement in his vocabulary and that he has a word for every object he is familiar with. Also, the child will be able to make small sentences and understand what others say very well. He will comfortably use constants in Sinhala alphabet such as Ka, Ga, Ta, Da, Na, Fa and will speak clearly than he used to speak as an infant.
When he reaches the age of 4, he will start to speak complete sentences and will be able to identify the difference between singular and plural words such as you, I and we. Also, he will speak around 4 complex sentences and understand and answer correctly to most of the questions asked from him. Moreover, the child will ask questions like why and how from his family members.
During the age of 6, the child will understand the language very well and start telling small stories and describe incidents. He will use constants such as La, Sa, Ra, Wa, Cha, Sha and Tha comfortably and use past, present and future tense in sentences correctly. His age and name are two other things that a child will be able to pronounce correctly at this age.
A normal child will show above-mentioned speaking skills during the mentioned age periods. If you notice a delay in speaking skills or any speaking problems with the child, it’s important to take actions immediately.
Check his hearing ability
- If the child doesn’t show the speaking skill as he supposed to show during different age periods it’s important to check whether the child has any difficulties with hearing.
- In case you identify a defect in speaking makes sure to get the guidance of a speech therapist as soon as possible.
- Then you will be able to diagnose the problem and receive immediate treatments accordingly.
Speak very often with your child.
- Let him help you with day to day activities and make sure to start conversations describing the tasks.
- Eg- Bathing, feeding, when clothing
Provide him with opportunities to talk
- Communicate very often with your child and let him speak and share his ideas with you as children will speak if he gets the chance to speak only.
Admire and praise your child
- When your child tries to do something, make sure to admire his efforts as it will encourage the child to share his ideas and communicate more comfortably with you.
Children pay attention to facial expressions
- Using facial expressions when communicating with your child will help you keep his attention on the conversation.
Lower and raise your voice when speaking with your child.
- With this, the child will be able to understand the message easily and will enjoy the conversation more.
- Eg- Raise your hand or turn around when singing a song. Or drop your arms or sit on the ground at once.
Give him his turn
- Always giving him a turn to do something is very important. For an example, if you ask your child to turn around, make sure you do the same in the next time.
Normally, it’s important to carefully take care of a child during his first 3 years. Because this is the period in life that a child develops his language and speaking skills.
If you are careful enough you’ll be able to identify any defects in speaking at the very early stage so you can seek medical attention to resolve the condition.
The sooner you seek attention for speaking defects the better the results your child will reap through necessary treatments.