You want know when you can start working on speech and language development? How old is your baby? One day? Then you can start yesterday.
Working on your little one’s speech and language development can start on day one. We don’t have to wait until they are talking (or not talking). Yeah yeah, I know…you are all rolling your eyes wondering how the heck you are supposed to work on speech and language with a newborn. It’s easy. I promise. All you gotta do is imitate.
The very first skill a kiddo needs to develop speech and language skills is imitation. And I am not just talking about speech imitation. Motor imitation has to come first. You can start working on “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake” when they are five or six months old, but before that you can imitate them. They raise their sweet pudgy arms, you raise yours. They stick out that adorable little tongue, you stick out yours. The best way to teach them imitation is to model it for them. You copy them, they copy you. Piece of cake.
Why imitation? Well in the end, that is really what speech and language is. We only say words we have heard (or read). If your little one learns to model large motor movements, like clapping and jumping, they will follow with small motor movements, like the ones our mouths use to make words.
And for you mamas with late talkers. This imitation gig is for them too. They need to know how to imitate before they are going to start talking on their own! They attempt a word, you imitate that word back for them. Pretty soon they wil be imitating your words!
Gus is imitating everything Hank does. Everything.