Learn about your child language development – Interview with Multicultural Motherhood

I had the pleasure to interview Weronika from the blog Multicultural Motherhood.

Weronika is a speech and language therapist currently homeschooling her 4 children.

She has a Polish background, although born in the UK and her husband is a Kurd from Turkey. Hence, they are a very multicultural family.

They are bringing their four children up as bilingual (English and Turkish) and learn Arabic as a foreign language, with a bit of Polish thrown in from their grandparents.

She homeschools her 4 children, taking different things from different approaches. In particular, she likes the Charlotte Mason approach. She spends as much time as possible outdoors and believes outdoor learning is very beneficial for children. 

In this interview, we talked about the “normal” language development of the child, what are the red flags to spot a speech delay and how to help your child to talk.

Here is some complementary information about language and links to the studies discussed in the interview.

Key milestones of language development:

Here are the key milestones in language development:

  • At birth, the baby has no words. The baby will cry to make himself understood.
  • At 2 months, the baby turns at the sound of a voice.
  • Between a few weeks old to 3 months: the baby develops a prelinguistic language made of sounds, coo and gurgles.
  • At 4 months, the baby looks intensely at speaking mouth.
  • At 6 months, the baby makes babbling sounds and repeats the first syllable of words but no real words like “ma ma ma”.
  • At 10 months, the baby becomes conscious that language has a meaning.
  • At 12 months, the baby says his first intentional word. A word that the child uses to designate a person or an object.
  • At 15 months, the child talks in baby talk composed of mainly vowels and interjections. It’s the stage of mimetic words.
  • At 18 months, the baby uses nouns and starts to name everything around him: dog, table, bed, bread.
  • From 18 months to 24 months, babies have 2 words sentences also called “telegraphic speech”: daddy gone, me cake.
  • Between 21 months to 2 years old, there is an explosion of language. The toddler seems to acquire around 100 words all of sudden: nouns, preposition, verbs and adjectives.
  • At 3 years, the child experiments with language rules and knows around 1000 words.
  • At 4 years, the child has the same grammar as an adult and a full, varied vocabulary of over 2000 words.
  • Adults have a vocabulary of 4000 to 5000 words.

What is a speech therapist?

A child might be referred to a speech therapist if he doesn’t talk by the time he is two years old

Speech and language therapists provide life-changing treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing. They help people who, for physical or psychological reasons, have problems speaking and communicating. Patients range from children whose speech is slow to develop, to older people whose ability to speak has been impaired by illness or injury. It also includes treatment for those who have difficulty with eating or swallowing. 

2 years old check-up (UK)

At the age of 2, here in the UK, the children are seen by the Health visitor for their 2 years check.

The Two Year Old Review is a combination of the Health review your Health Visitor and Children’s Centre staff do and the 2 year Progress Check, carried out by your child’s key person if your child attends a day nursery, pre-school or childminder.

Red flags or warning signs

The warning signs regarding language are:

  • If a child is not saying at least 50 words at the age of two then they can have a speech and language delay
  • Around the age of 2, children are supposed to say between 50 to 200 words so if a child says less than 50, it is a red flag.
  • At the age of two, children are normally able to put two words together so if the child is also not doing this, it’s another red flag.
  • Babies start to babble between 3 to 6 months so if a baby doesn’t babble, it’s a red flag.
  • Babies from birth are making eye contact and look in people face. Again, if a baby or child doesn’t make eye contact, it’s a red flag.

Bilingualism

Learning another language in the Early years has many benefits, even a protective effect against Alzeihmer!

Read more in this article.

How to support your bilingual child?

You can have the rule: one parent, one language.

If both parents speak the minority language, then it’s best that both parents speak that language at home. Children will always learn the majority language of the country they live in.

So the language that needs to be nurtured is the minority one.

You can have some rules such as speaking the minority language at meal time or at the weekend.

The main thing is that your child keeps understanding the minority language even if he chooses to answer in the majority language.

Spend time with people who speak the minority language.

Another trick shared by Weronika: refuse to answer if they don’t say it in the minority language.

What is glue ear?

Glue ear is very common in children and can be often unnoticed and resolved by itself. But also, it can result in hearing loss and might necessitate the placement of grommets.

Grommets are small temporary tubes that are placed in your child’s ear during surgery. They help drain fluid away and keep the eardrum open.

The grommet should fall out naturally within 6 to 12 months as your child’s ear gets better.

Tip to help your child to pick up on language after they had grommet placed:

  • Avoid background noise
  • Make the language simple
  • Interact as much as possible
  • Listen and respond to them
  • Do a running commentary: for example, while you make her breakfast: I’m taking the bowl. I’m pouring the milk in your bowl and I am giving you a spoon…
  • Talk in a very concrete way, talk about what you see.

Important studies about language:

A recent study has shown a huge vocabulary gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest background.

Read more about that study here.

Another study has shown that more and more children entering school with a speech and language delay.

And here, a study has shown the impact of screen time on language development.

 

Now enjoy this very informative interview with Weronika.

She runs an online course called Raising a talker. Have a look here.

 

My Gentle and Montessori Discipline Course starts on the 23rd of April

Get access to the course and join our tribe of like-minded, non-judgmental parents. 

About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.

>