Is your 12 month old starting to copy your speech sounds, say simple words they’ve heard like, “uh-oh” or “dada”, understand easy instructions like, “let’s go”, register words for everyday items like “shirt”, or turn to look at sounds they hear? That’s wonderful! Those are language development milestones that occur at around 12 months.
Language development is linked to the number of words an infant hears in a day. GreatSchools, an education nonprofit, explains that, “Some children hear about 21,000 words a day, others hear 6,000 or fewer. By age 3, that difference becomes a substantial word gap that predicts future success.”
Easy Phrases to Support Your 1-Year-Old's Language Development
- Tell your child, “you are doing such a great job ______!” Some easy suggestions to fill in the blank with are: holding your blanket, eating your food, wearing your shoes, listening to me, making sounds, saying words”. When you use positive and supportive words and phrases around your child, that helps to shape their language development and worldview in a happy and healthy way.
- Say, “hold your cup like this” and show them how you want them to hold their cup, instead of saying “don’t hold your cup like that”. When you focus on telling them what you want them to do (rather than what you don’t want them to do), you are providing them with growth focused language. This helps your child learn without feeling like they did something wrong.
- Do lots of talking around your child. When your child hears you talking, even if it's not to them, they are learning how to interpret different tones of voice, cadence, and how words sound. When you talk to your friends, partner, and family members around your child, you are providing them with excellent exposure to new words. Playing audio books, encouraging the use of toys that talk to your child, and playing lots of songs for them are other excellent ways to strengthen your child’s language development.