Understanding Receptive and Expressive Language in Babies

When you are a brand new mother, there are so many things to learn about your child, one of which is the development of language. When I was a young mother myself, I am one of the guilty ones who bombarded themselves with information about the how-tos of taking care of a newborn. I always had a chart of the normal developmental stages of a child handy. We attended not just childbirth preparation classes but newborn care classes as well. To a degree, I even considered myself ready way before our son was born.

Jeff and I were thrilled over each and every progress our son would show. I remember this video that I took when Jed was a couple of months old. At three months, he was already mimicking the sound of the way we say “I love you” with ease and it was just one of the most unforgettable things.

It was like watching the clock when it came to how I anticipated my son to talk real words. We never encouraged baby talking. From all the studies that we have done, which were always careful to evaluate first, baby talking is not the way to go. Although, no one can really help himself when he’s faced with a baby. We always tend to don our softest voices and even sing-song tones when there is a baby around. But that’s entirely different from baby talking.

My son’s first word was “car”. I would have to give it to his fancy over cars right from infancy. I could easily tell you that his first was “Mama” and get away with it. But not when I understand that when he babbled the word, “Ma,” over and over again, it was not I he was pertaining to. As giddy as I was back then, I have to admit to the fact that “car” was really his first word. It was just him trying to speak and the syllable “ma” is the easiest for babies. There is not much effort required, save for the baby lifting his jaw and letting out that familiar sound. Although his first real word was “car,” he spoke the word “Mama” not long after and this time it was really me he was calling.

Receptive language and expressive language, these are two different things that parents have to look into as they see their babies progress. While receptive language is the input system that processes information through the baby’s senses, expressive language is the output system. It is what parents ultimately look forward to.

Baby signing is also a part of expressive language and this, we also learned for a bit. It was fun how Jed picked up all the signs rather easily and we were excited even as we could already easily converse with him through it. It was good though that we did not become too comfortable or else it would have been an excuse for my son to just sign instead of express himself in real words. While there isn’t exactly a speech pill for babies, there are ways that we could do to encourage our child to master language forms and eventually learn early conversational skills. This will be the next article in line. While I may not be an expert at this topic, I could very well vouch for the things that I share given that my son is one proof that the things we did worked for him.

Understanding Receptive and Expressive Language in Babies

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