Children’s word comprehension develops far faster than speaking ability – even from the first month’s children are capable of understanding far more than we realize
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It’s no surprise that speaking to babies from their very first days supports and stimulates early language development. Thanks to recent research, we now know just how much parents and caregivers influence language skills, and why.
The area of the brain that controls the ability to comprehend works resides at the back of the brain, while the area responsible for speech lies in a higher and more forward position. Because the brain matures from back to front and bottom to top, comprehension advances far faster and earlier than the ability to speak. However, until recently this gap between speech and comprehension wasn’t well understood. Consequently, language is commonly nurtured as a level far below a child’s actual capacity.
Though you might realize that young children understand more than they speak, the degree of mismatch between speech and word recognition and comprehension might shock you. Language development can be naturally supported in the everyday activities of parents, caregivers, and children.
Provide richer dialogue, narrate frequently, and ask more questions, even those that can be responded to non-verbally. By assuming a greater degree of comprehension, your child’s language development will benefit.
A note about the author:
Dr. Randa Grob-Zakhary, MD Ph.D. is the Founder of The Babyboost Institute for Early Learning and Development. Want more tips? Purchase Babyboost: 50 Critical Facts on Amazon.