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Early learning? Just say the word

Mama”, “dada”, “ineluctable”. These are some possible first words any parent is waiting with bated breath to hear their child speak.

OK, maybe not all of them but the excitement around what your child might say is all the same as if they did say ineluctable.

The mystery of language acquisition is one which has puzzled scientists for many decades. You might notice that it’s easier to pick up a language the younger you are.

Noted scientist and researcher Dr Patricia Khul describes babies as “citizens of the world” because they are able to “discern all the sounds of all languages” up until the age of three.

Something that you and I simply do not have the capacity for anymore.

Your babies are little listening boxes. Everything you say, they are categorising and testing. Every syllable is compared and organised in their little head.

You are their professor. What’s interesting is that babies can’t really learn language from television or the radio very well. Language is a social tool. Babies crave your attention and communication because language is the tool they use to understand and contextualise the world around them.

It’s incredible to understand just how much your baby is able to process and the speed a which they learn.

Knowing all of this, I thought maybe a list of things to do with your baby that would take advantage of such a precious period would be a good idea! Here’s your Baby Brain Gain:

• Of course, reading to your baby should be a given. But don’t limit them to children’s books. They love to hear your voice, and how often do you read other things through the day to yourself. Try and save some for the baby! Think of all the super sounds some say soften souls. Or the perfect patterns parents partake per priceless part.

• Bring friends around who speak different languages. If you have bilingual friends with a bit of time, your child could easily pick up a second language if they hear that second language consistently. It’s scientifically proven to be much easier to learn new languages when you’re a baby! New languages, new opportunities.

• Include your baby in family consultation. The more you include your baby in your conversations and consultations in the home, the greater amount of time you are spending with your baby using language that they are able to understand and process. You’re not going to wait for your baby’s response until they get older, but they will feel like they should contribute, and this will help them to practice talking.

Language is not only a tool to describe the world, but helps us to change the environment around us in a multitude of ways. It’s a gift we give our children to the degree of their capacity. Only time will tell the capacity of gifts they will give to you and the world.