From Birth to 3 Months
Around this time, babies are attentive to sounds. They listen to your voice and try to comprehend it by mimicking the sound. They make cooing and gurgling noises too. Here are a few things that will help them at this stage.
1.You can sing to your child, as nice sounds tend to have a soothing effect on babies. A baby may listen to your singing even when he/she is in the womb.
2. Keep talking to the baby. Talk to people when your baby is near. He/she will not be able to understand the words but will recognise your voice and will smile in return.
3. Make some quiet space for your baby, as they need their time to babble and play without any noise from TV or radio.
From 3 to 6 Months
This is the stage when the baby watches and learns how people talk to each other. During this period:
1. Talk to your baby and smile to him/her.
2. Hold him/her closer so that he/she listens to you when you talk.
3. Repeat the word you said if your baby tries to imitate your sound.
From 6 to 9 Months
In this stage, babies start playing with the sounds. They say words like “baba” or “dada”, which may not mean anything, but it is progress. Babies learn to differentiate between a happy voice and an angry voice. They smile and laugh to happy voices and cry when they hear an angry sound. Even if the baby cannot say words yet, you can make him/her understand them by:
1. Playing games like peek-a-boo and moving their hands while singing a rhyme.
2. Give them toys that make sounds and explain them to him/her.
3. Ask them questions like “Where’s daddy?”, if he/she does not respond, then point out saying, “Who’s that?” and mention the person’s name if your baby does not respond to this.
From 9 to 12 Months
By this time, your baby will begin to understand simple words. He/she stops to look at you if you say “no-no.” If someone asks “Where’s mommy?” she will look for you. You baby will point, make sounds, and use their body to “tell” you what he/she wants.
For example, he/she may look up at you and lift his/her arms up to tell you to carry him/her. Your baby may hand you a toy to let you know they want to play. You can help your baby “talk” by doing things like showing him/her how to wave “bye-bye.”
From 1 to 2 years
By this time, your baby would learn simple words and start using them to talk to you. They will start talking in phrases in this phase. During this stage, you can:
1. Read picture books with them and ask questions about the pictures in the books. Give them time to name the things depicted in the picture.
2. Talk about what the child wants most to talk about. Give them time to tell you about it.
3. Ask simple questions like, “Do you want milk or juice?”.
4. Help them with words they are trying to pronounce or when they are unable to explain something.
5. Teach your child nursery rhymes. Read to your child. Sing simple songs with them.
6. Encourage your child to talk to family and friends.
From 2 to 3 years
The language skills of the child will grow by leaps and bounds by this time. They will string words together and form simple sentences. They will be able to answer simple questions. In this stage, you can:
1. Teach your child to say his/her name.
2. Ask questions that do not have answers like “yes” or “no”, but rather have answers in shapes or numbers.
3. Ask your child to tell you what happens in the stories that you have already taught him.
4. Do lots of pretend play. Acting out stories and role playing create rich opportunities to use and learn the language.