Communication – how children experience speech development
Babies and toddlers are born with all the skills they need to interact with their environment. These include spoken language, facial expressions, gestures and body language. This means that they can communicate with other people right from birth. This is also important because communicating urgent needs ensures survival, whether it is individual sounds that express a desire for physical contact, or the baby needing to cry and scream to register its discomfort. Normally, parents intuitively know what their baby is trying to communicate and can understand the sounds and facial expressions of their little ones in the same way they understand spoken language.
Little by little, toddlers learn to speak. A child's language development takes a very long time. Although the speech centre in the brain is already in place at birth and the organs and muscles required to speak are formed, each child learns its own language skills at its own speed. Therefore, the age when a child begins to speak also varies considerably. In the same way, all children are different in the speed with which they can expand their vocabulary and form sentences.
When do children start speaking?
Some children are already speaking their first words at the age of nine months, others exactly on their first birthday, while others take their time until they reach the age of two. In the course of their third year, the number of words that children actively incorporate into the language they use increases exponentially. Experts currently think that children learn their first 50 words at a very slow pace. Later on, they can learn up to 10 new words a day! This phase lasts from approximately 18 months up to the age of 6.
Language development is fun
As a rule, children enjoy speaking and are very creative with sounds, words, sentences and their voices. Everyday situations can easily be used to encourage children in the wonderful process of language development. Many words as well as grammar and pronunciation are broadened and consolidated by active practise: when they are playing a puzzle or board game, reading books and reading them aloud, looking at picture books, experimenting or singing. The possibilities are endless! You can find lots of suggestions and tips in our language development section.
Playfully encouraging communication development
Fostering the development of communication with dolls
Role play is a wonderful way to get into conversation with each other. Particularly when they are playing with dolls, children process things they have experienced in their everyday lives and often adopt the role of a parent. They often repeat conversations or sometimes remain completely silent, but even then, they are telling a story in their head and in doing so are expanding their linguistic abilities.
Read also how HABA dolls can help children explore their daily lives in a playful way.
Fostering the development of communication with children's toys
Language development in children can also be fostered by playing games together. Not only does the HABA classic orchard expand vocabulary, language comprehension and sentence forms, it has also been a lot of funfor children and their families for many generations! You can get more information in our instructions for playful language development with the orchard.
Fostering the development of communication with children's books
Good stories inspire children to speak. That's why reading aloud is so important for language development. It also boosts children's personality and social skills. This way, regular reading aloud at a fixed time becomes the time for extensive cuddling and a feeling of well-being. Babies can play with buggy books, and at one year of age children are old enough for their first board picture books with simple illustrations and short rhymes. Later on, they enjoy little stories and their first non-fiction books about everyday life, their favourite animals, vehicles and toys. You can find more information in our manual for fun language learning with books.