Your Clever Toddler in Week 64: Comprehending Words Before Using Them
What your child learns this week
Your Child’s Brain in Week 64
As your child moves into her second year of life, you’ll quickly realize that even if she hasn’t become chatty just yet, she understands much of what you say—and not just when you’re talking about her. You’ll mumble to yourself, “Where did I leave my keys?” Lo and behold, your toddler retrieves them from next to the sofa. Right now, her receptive language, what she can comprehend, exceeds her expressive language, what she can actually say.
What the Research Shows
For 30 months, researchers noted the language development of 53 toddlers. One aspect they measured was how many words the children understood and how many they spoke. Parents were asked to keep daily diaries of both over the course of the study.
On average, the children comprehended 10 words at 11 months, but they were not able to produce 10 words until they reached 14 months; it took three months for expression to catch up to comprehension. At 13.5 months, the children on average comprehended 50 words but they did not produce 50 words until they reached 18.5 months. At this older age, it took five months for production to catch up to comprehension.
Week 64 Brain Booster
So what? Well, because children acquire words quickly at first by comprehending them and not by saying them, feel comfortable speaking to your child as much as possible as you go about your daily routine. Explain what you’re doing: “I’m going to feed the dog”; “Let’s put the eggs away.” Also describe what your child does, “Look at you, you’re stacking your blocks.” Also give directives, “Throw the ball to me,” or “Bring mommy the Jack-in-the-box.”
Realize, too, that if you’re recounting to grandma on the phone how your mischievous toddler recently drew all over the walls, you may want to keep an eye on the crayon box if your child is within earshot: Even hearing about the incident can inadvertently reinforce it and prompt a repeat performance. Therefore, be just a little cautious regarding your child’s ability to understand language. Resist trying to talk over his head, thinking that he’s not picking up on your conversation. He certainly is, particularly if he is the topic! Guard your words: Make sure that the ones you say are positive and productive descriptions of your child’s behavior.
Coming soon, look forward to: Week 65: Why TV Is a Bad Babysitter
Review the most recent accomplishments: Week 63: How New Words Help Your Child Learn to Categorize
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here:
- What’s happening in Month 15?
- Here’s what our pediatrician says you might be worried about this month.
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