Monday, December 12, 2011

Babies' Receptive Language

One of the things we talk a lot about in Montessori is that babies' receptive language (i.e., what they understand) is greater than what they can produce for a long time. For that reason, we spend a lot of time talking to babies. Kylie wrote a great post about how to talk to babies, which includes things like using real words (such as "pacificer" instead of "binky" or "toilet" instead of "potty"). We also spend a lot of time describing what we're doing (e.g., "Now I'm washing your left foot."). Further, we try to imitate the noises that Henry makes. We'll continue that practice until he really starts trying to produce actual words. At that point, we will stop mimicking him and instead reinforce the real vocabulary.

The other day, I realized that a major shift has taken place in Henry's receptive language. I could finally say "No" in a sufficiently serious voice and he would move away from the forbidden object.

As I've talked about around these parts, we try to create an environment of yes's. First, it's better for Henry's development to be in an environment that encourages and honors his need for movement and exploration. Second, it's good for my sanity not to have to chase my baby around all day long, trying to keep him from getting into stuff that he's not supposed to touch. It takes work on our part to keep our house de-cluttered and vacuumed and to pick up the dog bowls every day, but it's worth it to us.

However, there are a few things we simply can't change. For example, our security system has a couple things that plug into the wall and cannot be removed. I've been working around the annoyance by doing various things.

Finally, however, Henry has gotten to the point where he understands "No." The other morning, for example, he was crawling toward the security system plug. I said "Henry, no" in a very serious voice. He started laughing (perhaps because my face never looks that stern?) but he moved away from the plug. The next day, he started crawling toward it again. I refrained from saying anything. Before he got close enough to touch it, he veered to the right and crawled toward something else.

Now that we've started saying no, we really need to pay attention to our follow-through. If we say no about something, we need to mean it, and we need to follow-through if Henry doesn't listen. At this age, that will look like physically removing Henry from the situation if he doesn't listen to our "no."

I still hope to maximize the "yes's" in our house and minimize the "no's", but it's so cool to see his development.

Share |


Shawn said...

Thought you might find this interesting - it really is cool what babies can pick up on.

redfrizzz said...

I love your posts about parenting.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Shawn! Can't wait to read it! Thank you for thinking of me and sharing...

Hi, redfrizz! Awww...I appreciate your positive reinforcement so much. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails