The “prime time” for language development and learning to talk is from birth to 10 years of age.
We have known for a long time that different parts of the brain control different parts of who we are – our ability to throw a ball, to remain calm under stress, to figure out an algebra problem, or to play the piano. We can help (or hinder) the development of different parts of our brains by how we “exercise” it.
Babies are born with the ability to learn any language. Of course, they understand and babble in the language that they hear the most (including accents). Generally, the more talking, singing, and reading that a baby hears, the more words she will understand and use. Babies also learn the syntax of language, which is the way that sentences are constructed to make sense. Since the prime time for language learning is the first few years of life, babies are also able to learn second or third languages much more easily during this period.
How I think @ 46 months
Your child can now hold center stage and enjoys speaking without avoidance or embarrassment as his confidence and self esteem increase. He uses language as a complex tool, initiating, taking turns in conversation and maintaining topic, but can also easily adapt and change topic. He is also using language for many different reasons – bargaining, obtaining information, expressing needs etc. He is also starting to understand other peoples’ feelings and needs (empathy) and can respond appropriately.
Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills
• I love to splash and play with water
• Since my balance is better, I can walk along a plank
• I can use pedals on a tricycle
• I can roll and bounce a ball but catching it is still quite difficult
• I can throw a ball using shoulders and elbow
Motor Development: Fine Motor Skills
• I can hold a pencil correctly
• I can button clothes
• I am now ready to learn to cut with scissors
Language and Thinking Development
• I can get across what I want to say in most situations
• I may speak very clearly, or I may still use some 'baby talk'
• I may stumble over some words (but this will probably clear up by itself within the year)
• I could average more than 1200 words in my vocabulary!
• I can usually understand "place" words such as - under, on, beside, back, over
Social and Emotional Development
• I may still have fears of noises, the dark, animals, monsters etc
• I am developing a sense of humor and like to laugh at and repeat silly words and situations!
• I like to have choices but I can cope best if the choice is limited such as "you can wear your red shoes or your blue ones"
• I often enjoy being with other children and have begun to play together more
• I am learning that other people are real and have feelings. This means I can be upset when other people are upset!
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.