As a dad, I’m very proud to say that I managed to help my children say “dad” as their first word. But even beyond the first words, how do we help our little ones to continue developing their vocabulary?
One of the main early predictors of a child’s intelligence and future success in school is the amount of vocabulary he develops. Being able to communicate with words is also a very important predictor of success in managing emotions and creating and maintaining positive relationships with others later in life.
Even before birth, babies can hear sounds and are learning about the world around them. The more you talk, sing, and read to your baby about what she is seeing, doing, and feeling, the more words she will understand and eventually speak.
Every child is different, however, most children speak their first words around the time they are one year old. Between 18 months of age and two years they should be able to incorporate at least 50 words to their vocabulary. By age three they should have at least 500 words.
If you are concerned that your child is having a difficult time speaking or understanding words, consult with your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider.
Dr. David Anglada-Figueroa is a clinical psychologist with a passion for families and children and a spokesperson for First 5 Sonoma County. First 5 encourages parents to Read, Talk, and Play every day with their babies. For more information, visit first5sonomacounty.organd www.facebook.com/SonomaFirst5.