Within this time your child will need your support as much as possible. At the beginning you might hear a load of gobbledegook which you will struggle to understand. The most common mistakes are categorised as the following:
- Deletion, such as 'do' for 'dog' and 'cu' for 'cup'.
- Substitution, such as 'pip' for 'ship'.
- Addition, such as 'doggie' (an all time fave)
- Assimilation, such as 'gog' for 'dog'.
- Reduplication (try saying that after swinging a few back), such as 'dada' and 'mama' (so cute!)
- Constant cluster reductions (errr whaa?!?) so 'pider' for 'spider'
- and Deletion of unstressed syllables, such as 'nana' for 'banana'.
Katherine Nelson (1973) identified four categories for a child's first words; these are - naming (things or people), actions/events, describing things and personal words. Other mistakes such as overextending a word's meaning. This can be anything from labeling the cat as a dog (60%), calling an orange, apple or lemons a ball (15%) or saying 'duck' whilst looking at an empty pond (25%).
After your child establishes their vocab and grammar correctly (so saying 'ran' instead of 'runned'), questions, negatives and pronouns soon follow. 'Where is ball?', 'I no want', 'Tom play'. So from babbling and saying nothing with any meaning at the start of the year you child will be telling you that the dog is gone and there's balls in your fruit bowl.
Enough about the child, where do you come into this? As a parent studies have shown that your language changes. CDS or Child-directed speech is the various speech patterns you use when communicating with young children, which usually involves simplified vocabulary, melodic pitch, repetitive questioning, and a slow or deliberate tempo. So you'll be using a higher pitch than normal, and speak mainly in the present tense (until your child starts exploring future and past tenses in which case you'll start correcting them). Even you will be using one-word utterances to match your child's development, and 'din-dins' with simply yes/ no questions will be your most common dialogue.
After establishing their speech, your child will be introduced to reading. Even before you send them to their first year in school you should be reading bed time stories to your child. Asking them to point to pictures and where certain characters are will be vital to their reading development. A little warning: be prepared to read the same story to your child over and over and over and over and over and over...