You might not let on but most moms and dads are keeping track and checking each milestone off in their heads – especially language and speech. First word. Check. Two words together, memorizing book pages, sounding out letters. Check, check, and check. There’s a lot to keep track of. For example, when the language-learning burst occurs in our little one’s growing brains. (Spoiler: between 16 and 24 months.*) And there’s a lot to consider – such as whether or not to raise your children with a different language at home (benefits below).
To get the inside track on how to keep your little explorer on track, we’ve outlined common questions and 4 great language benchmarks to put on your checklist.
Should Children Be Exposed to Multiple Languages?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association mentions researchers, who call out multi-language advantages such as new-word absorption, word categorization, problem-solving, listing and connecting with others.
Further, “According to the American Community Survey, more than one in 5 individuals over the age of 5 (21%) speak a language other than English at home. That number of bilingual speakers is projected to increase in the coming years.”
What’s One Way to Assess Children’s Language Skills?
No matter what your child’s dominant language is, the CDC Developmental Milestone Checklists help monitor skill acquisition based on age, as described below:
1 year: Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech).
Let’s sing en francais opens children up to traditional French music and the unique tonal and rhythm patterns of the language. While both English and French share the same 26-letter alphabet, it’s often easier to hear the differences than explain them.
2 years: Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog.
Spanish Toddler Playgroup is an early introduction to stories told in Spanish that open up a world of reference points. Think: gato, pájaro or perro!
4 years: Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she.”
Homework Help with Thomas! helps focus children on their schoolwork and can offer extra help on reading, writing and language skills.
5 years: Knows about things used every day, like money and food.
After School Mandarin + Music teaches children everyday words and expressions while focusing on their linguistic development.
Due to the rapid language development in early years, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reinforces that speech acquisition and language skills “… develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.”
Take advantage of the whole wide world of kids’ classes and visit The Kids Passport to discover what’s out there.
*In PhD Douglas Davies’ book “Child Development, Third Edition: A Practitioner's Guide” (The Guildford Press, 2010), he asserts that neurobiological studies suggest the language-learning burst, which occurs between 16 and 24 months, is made possible by a surge of growth in the cortical areas of the brain related to language. The stage for all of this is the left temporal lobe. The place where there’s an increase of synapses, memory capacity, and information-processing ability.