Imagine this! You are safe in your mother’s womb, in a small confined space and nourished continuously. You are safe. Now, suddenly you are born. Your world is turned inside out. Now you are in the big, wide world of your crib. You have no sense of time or space. You have your five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. However you can’t focus in on objects or people. You can move your arms and legs but really can’t reach out and touch things. You can hear sounds but can’t make the same sounds as your mother’s voice. The only taste you have is your mother’s milk or bottled formula. The only smell you know well is the scent of your mother’s body. You are a zero point and must learn to develop these five senses.
You must learn to communicate with your mother and she, in turn, must learn how to respond to your sounds. You didn’t have a human voice in the womb, so the only thing you can do is to let you vocal chords utter Ohooos or make gurgling sounds. Your mother is quick to pick these up and mimic them. The first mode of learning is through repetition. By repeating the sounds from your mother, you can gain comfort and success that what you are uttering is correct. This will set the framework for learning words, phrases, sentences and long reading selections.
Your mother knows that the gurgling and Ohooos are not enough. She talks to you in complete sentences. When doing this she tries to incorporate as many of the five senses as possible. She will “point” to objects such as your doll saying: This is your doll. She will take the doll to you and let you touch it, saying again, this is your doll. She also knows that we learn nouns easiest. By pointing to the doll and letting the child touch it will reinforce the word doll. But that is not enough. To add meaning to the word doll, you must add adjectives like “pretty doll with a blue dress.” Using concrete objects is the best way to communicate with your child. You can use food words like: “juice” or “milk” in the same way. Always remember that repetition is the best way to help your child communicate.
Play games like Pat a Cake. Here you are combining words with movement. Help your child to move his/her hands while saying the rhyme.
Ask your child to follow directions. You can start with the parts of your body, like: “Show me your nose, your ears, your legs etc.” Ask you child to combine physical action like: “Bring me your pretty doll with a blue dress.”
This step is most important because it tells you that your child understands what you are saying. The act of bringing the doll to you is confirmation that she knows what a doll is. Do the same with games that involve shapes like squares and triangles. Observe how well the child does.
When speaking to you child always maintain eye contact. Your child may not understand what you are saying but your facial expression and eye contact reassures and comforts him/her. Here again you are using more than one of your senses.
In all of this you, as the mother, should try to follow the rhythm of your child’s development from sounds to words to sentences.