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Right On Schedule

By Ronda Addy

From the moment children are born, they are developing their cognitive skills. Scientists have discovered that a child's brain can acquire a tremendous amount of information about language in their first year of life, even before they learn to talk. By the time a baby learns to talk, they know the sounds of their language and the sounds combined to create words. A child's development early in life is strongly tied to their success later in life. There are guidelines available that help parents know if their child is on the right track, but it is important to realize that every child will develop at their own pace. Let's take a look at some of the guidelines from age one to age three.

Most children by their first birthday should be able to:

Crawl, maybe even walk

Wave goodbye and play patty cake

Sit up on their own and pull themselves into a standing position

Recognize their name

Understand the word "no" and simple instructions

Show interest in other children

Imitate familiar words

Discriminate between many sounds

Give a toy on request

Show affection

Identify and react to others' emotions

Feed themselves small pieces of food

Put a cube in a cup when told

As a parent, you can stimulate your one-year old's speech and language skills by:

Reading colorful books to them

Reciting nursery rhymes to them

Playing games like peek-a-boo with them

Taking to them using short words

Imitating their movements and vocalizations

Encouraging and rewarding them for any efforts using new words

Talking to them about what you are doing while they are with you

Most children by their second birthday should be able to:

Identify body parts

Understand simple questions and commands

Name pictures

Refer to themselves by name

Build a tower using eight blocks

Carry on a conversation with their dolls or themselves

Ask "What's this?" "What's that?" and "Where's mine?"

Use two-word negative phrases

Ask for a drink, food or to go to the toilet

Stay with one activity for six to seven minutes

Use a sentence of two to three words

Have a speaking vocabulary of 300 words

As a parent, you can stimulate your two-year-old's speech and language skills by:

Repeating new words to them

Reading books with simple colorful pictures to them

Playing records with them

Talking to them about what you are doing

Helping them listen to and follow instructions when playing games with them

Listening to them-don't ever tell them you don't understand them

Praising them for telling you what they are doing

Asking them questions and carrying on a conversation with them

Most children by their third birthday should be able to:

Begin to play with other children

Speak in short sentences

Match primary colors and name one color

Tell a short story or repeat a short nursery rhyme

Learn to share and wait their turn

Obey prepositional phrases

Know their last name, the name of the street they live on and their sex

Wash and dry their hands and face and show improved motor skills

Express fatigue verbally

Stay with one activity for eight to nine minutes

Have a vocabulary of almost 1,000 words

As a parent, you can stimulate your three-year-old's speech and language skills by:

Letting your child play with other children

Reading them longer stories

Talking to them about how things are different and alike

Using words they have trouble with when you talk

Teaching them the relationship between words, ideas and objects

Encouraging them to tell stories using pictures and books

Paying attention to them when they talk

Children develop at their own pace, so these guidelines are just that, guidelines. However, if you have a reason to believe that your child is not developing as they should, you should contact your pediatrician and let them know your concerns.



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