You know it too well: Zeros instead of pacifiers. Load instead of chocolate. Where did my child get it from? We want to get to the bottom of these and other questions about the language development of preschool children between the ages of 0 and 6. How much support – and especially which support – does a child actually need when learning to speak??
It’s a question that probably burns on every parent’s lips from time to time: Why can my child spell the letters "k"?, „p" or "r" simply not pronounce them correctly yet? The other kids in the toddler group or kindergarten are all learning to speak, too? Do I need to worry? Sometimes you just ask yourself what you have to do as a parent to support your little treasure in language development. In this article, we want to get to the bottom of these and other questions about language development and give you valuable tips for the language development of your little treasure.
Uncertainty among parents: Why can’t my child do this yet??
The uneasy feeling that you might be doing too little for your child’s language development is something I’m sure most parents are familiar with. Am I missing out on certain important developmental activities that may make it difficult for my child to keep up with his or her classmates later on?? After all, the child next door can already speak whole sentences, and so clearly too! And then always these probing questions of the mother-in-law, why your little one is still "Tinderdarten" instead of "Kindergarten says.. As a parent, you are always plagued by uncertainties. You want to do everything in your power to provide your little angel with a good foundation for its later educational path. We have compiled three rules of thumb that are guaranteed to help you develop your child’s language skills.
Rule number 1: Take the pressure off and get informed
As is well known, no talent has fallen from the sky. No talent for language either. And certainly not at 2 or 3 years of age. As a parent of a young child, you should know that children develop at very different rates, especially at preschool age. Ca. 90 % of all 4 year olds speak typical sounds like "sh" and "k" still incorrectly. At the age of 5 there are only approx. 10 %. And only within the 5. The development of a child’s language is completed by the age of 10. This would be the earliest point at which the pediatrician would recommend speech therapy for your child, if serious deficits were still evident. Internalizing this answer and always having it at hand can be very helpful in conversations with your neighbors or mother-in-law!
How does correct language development proceed??
Here we give you an overview of how the language development of children in preschool age develops gradually. Between birth and 6. There are 7 stages of language development. When reading, keep in mind that the stages represent general tendencies. They serve you very well as a guide. That is, each child has its own pace to progress within these 7 stages. But if you really find out that your child is not yet able to express simple things at the age of 3 or even 4, then you should consider the following. B. If your child has to go to the toilet, you should inform the pediatrician about it and look for ways to playfully support your child in learning to speak.
1. Pre-school stage (birth to approx. 1 year)
The first sound a newborn makes is the so-called "birth cry". This is produced by the onset of respiration. In the preliminary stage, the child cries when he has to make himself heard, z. B. when it is hungry.
2. Stage of babbling monologues (6 months to 1 year)
At this time, a child begins to form simple syllable strings, so-called babble monologues. The child hears syllables from their parents, which they repeat over and over again.
3. One-word sentence stage (1 year to 18 months)
A child’s first words are formed around the age of one. Mostly these are words, which arise from the syllable chains of the 2. level (Ma-ma, Pa-pa). Simple words, which the child hears in his environment, are also repeated.
4. Stage of two- and multi-word sentences (18 months to 2 years)
Children begin to ask for specific terms. In this way, they can expand their vocabulary and also gain knowledge about certain things. The expanded vocabulary at this age leads to the familiar two- and multi-word sentences.
5. Development and expansion of grammar (2-3 years)
When the child begins to form multi-word sentences, grammatical errors inevitably occur. These grammar mistakes and sentence structure errors are corrected by the improvement of parents and educators in everyday life.
At the end of this stage, the child is able to speak correctly, ask questions and explain contexts.
6. Level of consolidation (3-4 years)
Children often ask "why" questions. At this age, grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure of the language are further consolidated.
7. Complete mastery
Until the end of the 5. The child’s language development is roughly complete by the time he or she reaches the age of 18. The child knows upper and lower terms as well as different names for an object. It also masters the tenses past, present and future.
And what does all this tell us?
With all the helpful science about child development, one thing is clear: every child has his or her own pace of learning and doing things. Of course you want to and should support your child as best you can! Instead of talking to him in baby language ("Gaga, gugu, gugugg!“) it is more recommendable, simply completely "normal" and to speak clearly to his child- already from birth. Because that’s the only way to learn how our language works properly.
In addition, there are many ways for you to introduce your child to language in a playful way. How you can best support your child linguistically- we give you a few examples:
Picture books and books to read aloud
In addition to everyday conversations with your little treasure, it’s nice to do little regular practice sessions now and then, such as reading the beloved book before bedtime. Children love to do things together with mom or dad, to experience things together. It is the same with the common reading lesson. It is important that the child is not too passive, but actively "reads along", by pronouncing and repeating words. Let your child discover the book by himself and then speak the words again slowly and clearly to him.
Finger games and rhymes stimulate word linking especially well, like with Alle meine Zappelmanner by arsEdition. The well-known classic is hardly to be thought away from the children’s rooms. „When a little boy climbs a tree, climbs so high you can hardly see him, hops from branch to branch, peers into the bird’s nest. Ei, there it laughs, hei, there it cracks! Plump, there it lies below!“ The 10 most beautiful finger games are fun even for the smallest ones from 12 months onwards. There are also instructions for the parents in the book. Language is taught here in a playful and loving way.
If you want to get your child interested in a book, the content is important. Take a picture book that is about things your child likes very much! Then learning is twice as much fun, as for example with Ravensburger: Everything that has wheels. Here little car fans get their money’s worth. Depending on what your child is interested in Books are available on all topics!
Many girls, for example, love to dive into magical fantasy worlds with mom. The dream to be a real princess is big for many little girls. Princess Lillifee is simply magical. She will take you and your little princess on many exciting adventures that will thrill you every time. With the book Princess Lillifee- the small Ballerina of Coppenrath you can do thus surely nothing wrong.
Some children love animals. Cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters- No cuddly friend is safe from the curious hands of children. If your child is currently interested in animals and perhaps even already wants a pet, try the book Conni bekommt eine Katze (Conni gets a cat) from Carlsen-Verlag. Your child is dealing with a topic that is very exciting from his point of view and will enthusiastically join in the conversation!
Particularly effective for the language development of young children are Wimmel books . These stimulate the child especially to actively discover and name objects, people or animals. And on top of that, they’re a lot of fun too! Searching for pictures in the book Find words by Coppenrath has been specially made to help children with language development.
Rule number 2: Empathy. 20 new words a day is a lot of wood
So you see: pretty much everyone has learned to speak as a child at some time or another. Whether fast or slow, whether earlier or later. The language comes. The most important thing for your treasure is that you always show a lot of understanding for his development. Because once a child has begun to recognize and process words, he or she learns ca. 20 new words every day! That’s a whole lot of work for your little sprout. Help him retain and process the words and link them together in terms of content. Like? Best while playing!
Maybe your little one is also a real song fan. Singing and dancing with mom and dad- what could be better? You can also learn super words! By linking them to the melodies, your child will be able to remember words, terms and rhymes even better.
For future stars and starlets between 6 and 24 months, there’s the Fisher-Price learning fun Songbook. This picture and song book ensures first learning successes, also in terms of language. The friendly bookworm holds the book while baby flips through the pages to listen to nursery rhymes to the illustrated stories. When the child presses one of the three learning buttons, it learns letters, numbers, colors and whole words.
Also very popular: the albarello Little Dancing Bears songbook. The dancing bears want to go to a bird wedding. But already on the journey there are many opportunities to sing beautiful songs, the best known and most popular children’s songs of our time. Beautifully bright pictures invite you to look at them again and again. Ancient and yet always new are these nursery rhyme classics.
Rule number 3: Be a good role model!
It is probably the most important rule in raising children and at the same time so simple: Be a good role model! Of course, we parents are all only human. This should be noted. People make mistakes. But as a mom or dad, you should always at least try to show your child how to do things correctly. In all areas of life, and of course, in the development of language. For example, if you speak colloquially with your child most of the time, you can assume 100% that your treasure will follow you in doing so, because you are his greatest role model.
ÄIt’s the same with the dialect spoken in your area. Your child will be able to distinguish very well between dialect and standard language. Therefore, when reading aloud, always make sure that the pronunciation is as correct as possible- so your child will learn the dialect without problems in addition to the high language. In order to become accustomed to spoken language, the so-called "passive media" also play an important role a nice change:
Audio books, song CDs and movies
You should always keep in mind that your little angel learns new things best when he tries and discovers them himself. This also applies to learning the language. Entertainment options such as CDs and DVDs are often seen as passive media and are said to offer little opportunity for interaction. Your child will learn to watch and listen, which is also very important. In addition, it learns a very correct language in audio books and movies. Narrators and movie characters do not make mistakes in pronunciation, they do not have dialect and do not use slang. This is also a helpful change for your child to the conversations of everyday life.
CDs to join in
There are great CDs that encourage participation. The CD Where the Animals Live by Ravensburger Junior is again something for little animal fans. Bats sometimes live in our attic and the snail always has its house on its back. Age-appropriate questions and answers, lots of hands-on activities and music make the series "Why? Why? Why?“ to a listening experience for the smallest. The series offers of course many more CDs on other topics.
Song CDs offer a great opportunity for interaction. Here, mom and dad come into play again by dancing together with their offspring to the sung songs and, of course, singing along. The 30 best play and movement songs from Universal Music is a CD that has already proven its worth in numerous toddler groups. Here you will find the most popular musical catchy tunes for children from 12 months of age. It also includes a lyrics booklet and movement instructions for each song. There the word learning makes double and triple fun!
Short movies for small people
A DVD with three exciting stories about the popular elephant from the New Town Zoo, Benjamin Blumchen. „The zoo concert, „The hippo baby and "The circus lions" – these are three adventures in picture book format to watch over and over again for children aged 3 and older. Here you can simply switch off, watch and learn, because this is also a nice change for your little inquisitive protege: The Kiddinx Benjamin Blumchen- Picture book DVD 1! Of course there are many other episodes of Benjamin Blumchen available on DVD.
Your child simply learns everything from you. Also the language. Therefore, it is important for a toddler that his parents
- lovingly and
talk to him. That means: few information, for the beginning best only one in a sentence. „Take off your slippers, get your socks out of the closet and then please put on your shoes because we are going out right now to meet with Aunt Luisa, by the way we are already late and have to hurry up!“ Such a sentence overwhelms a small child between two and three years, it can not process all that, let alone understand. Better first: "Please get your socks out of the closet". When the child has complied, you can then continue with the next request. You will be surprised how well your child will follow you all of a sudden. When reading or singing together, you should make sure to speak slowly and clearly, then your child will also imitate it correctly.
However, you should not underchallenge your offspring either. Even if you watch his own pace, always give him a little push forward, that’s very important. If you talk to your baby in baby language, he will not learn anything from you at that moment. But if you talk to him in a normal way, you’re doing it right for him. If your child says "go on" when he is three years old!“ instead of "going further, then just answer him "Yes, we gehen continue! And where gwe go?“
It all sounds not so hard? There you go! Then our guidebook has helped. We wish you and your little treasure a lot of fun while learning to speak through play, and above all a lot of patience!