Developmental milestones: Understanding words, behavior, andconcepts
Understanding words, behavior, and concepts
Your newborn can't yet speak your language or fully understand what you're saying tohim, but he's a fast learner. Research shows that babies start listening to their parents'voices while still in the womb. Once born, your baby begins tuning in to your words andsentence patterns to figure out what you're saying. He also uses his powers of observationto learn about some of the more complicated things — like love, trust, time, and causeand effect — that exist in his physical and emotional world.
When it develops
Your baby starts to learn what others are saying and doing even before he's born. As anewborn, he doesn't know the precise meaning of the words you use, but he picks up onyour emotions — such as happiness, sadness, love, concern, anxiety, and anger. By thetime he's 4 months old, he'll recognize his own name, and by 8 to 12 months he'llunderstand simple requests such as "No" or "Don't touch." Around 24 months, he'll beable to talk to you in two- or three-word phrases. By 3, he'll have a vocabulary of severalhundred words and a pretty good sense of some of the rituals and activities of everydaylife, such as food shopping, telling time, and housecleaning.
How it develops
Newborn to 1 month
Every waking moment, your baby is using his senses to take in new data about the worldhe finds himself in. He doesn't yet have the information that adults and older children useto interpret what they take in, but he's building that store of knowledge every day. Manyexperts say babies understand more than most parents think they do.As a survival skill, your baby stays emotionally attuned to the people around him. He canunderstand how you feel and what you're thinking by the tone of your voice, the set of your mouth, the pace of your breathing, the feel of your skin, and the glint in your eye.Your baby will form his version of reality from the way you respond to him — decidinghe's worthwhile because you come to him when he cries, stare lovingly into his eyes, andfeed him when he's hungry.As your baby's motor skills advance, his memory will get better, his attention span willlengthen, his ability to speak will improve, and his social skills will become more polished.
2 to 3 months