My Blog

NAN: Fostering Language Development Birth to 18 Months

Children communicate through expressions, words, gestures, actions, and sounds. For example, infants cry not because they are misbehaving, but because they are trying to get your attention or communicate a need.

By being responsive to a child’s attempts to communicate children learn how communication works. Being responsive and acknowledging a child’s attempts to communicate not only positively reinforces those attempts, it helps to foster a trusting nanny-child relationship which leads to a secure child-caregiver attachment.

Nannies can help foster early language development by pairing non-verbal interaction with verbal interactions, gestures or baby sign language. Children learn to understand the spoken word by attaching meanings to the words they hear and to the signs and gestures they see. Nannies can foster this understanding by purposely naming and describing the people, places and things they encounter in their day and talking the child through their daily routines. Singing songs, reciting rhymes, playing social games, reading and talking using a rich vocabulary are all ways nannies can foster early language development. 

As older infants transition to toddlers, they  begin to show an interest in the rhythm and patterns of language. They may dance or bounce in response to what they hear. Singing songs, reciting rhymes, and doing finger plays will help to foster language development in older infants and toddlers. 

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Fostering Language Development Birth to 18 Months