It’s like magic…all of a sudden something clicks inside their little minds and they are the smartest baby you know! Almost overnight these adorable, chubby cheeked, gap-toothed angels are able to demonstrate they understand what you are saying by following a simple direction, answering a yes/no question or imitating your gestures. They show you they understand associations and daily happenings by going to the bathroom when you say they need a bath or going to the back door when you say it’s time for daddy (or mommy) to get home from work. And every (proud) parent begins to wonder if they are raising a toddler genius!
My third child is 15 months old and the other day I caught myself bragging to Nicole about how smart she is. Lately she goes to the closet to get her shoes when she hears me say we are leaving and she answers yes/no questions pretty accurately. But as I heard my proud parent boasting, I remembered I thought her brother and sister were “sooooo smart” at this age too!!! So why was that? I mean, I do believe my kids are smart, but no smarter than any one else’s children, especially at the tender age of 15 months. And I can’t count how many times I have heard a parent bragging on the early emerging genius they call their toddler. So why is it that we ALL think we are raising little Einsteins at this age??? What’s the explanation behind it?
The foundation or building block of communication is receptive language, or a child’s ability to understand spoken language. Their whole (little) lives they have been absorbing every thing you say, every word on each page you read and observing your actions as you navigate their daily routines. These multi-sensory experiences (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and sometimes tasting) coupled with the repetition of your words and actions help them to understand what words mean. Also when you speak to them and accompany your words with gestures (like pointing to what you want them to get or nodding your head yes and no), you increase their comprehension. After many months of your tireless effort to keep their routines consistent and provide them with stimulation, all while keeping them happy and entertained, you are rewarded! You finally realize the fruits of your labor!!! They are now mobile enough to act upon what you have been teaching them for the past 12-18 months! So relish in this stage, be PROUD of the tiny genius you have created! And go ahead and brag…you deserve the accolades for raising baby Einstein!
If you would like to understand more about child development and get tips on how to help your child grow and develop during the toddler years check out 1-2-3 Just Play With Me. It is jam packed with purposeful play ideas to engage your child and help you appreciate the magic of development during the first 3 years of your baby’s life. Embrace the tiny miracle of your child! Hug and kiss your baby(s) today 🙂