Toddler-communication

Your 11-Month-Old's Speech and Socializing

Your baby is beginning to try a few words, with "Mama" and "Dada" likelyamong them. Many of his attempts will still be crude, like "ba" for "ball,"for example. These new sounds prompt others to give him the words he wants,and that's what teaches him language.

Before he becomes adept at naming the things around him, he'll point atthem. It's a process that psychologists call "shared joint attention."He'll start with jabbing his finger at objects he wants and will soon moveon to pointing at interesting items just to share them with you. He'll makefaces to get laughs from you and will dance and pose to hold yourattention. No one understands the meaning behind his gestures and behaviorsbetter than you do, so he'll throw his whole body into getting theresponses he wants. He's irresistible.

Your Little Social Butterfly

Many babies this age like being around other children their own age,including siblings, relatives, and neighbors. Don't expect too muchinteraction. Your baby may enjoy watching other children and may even tryimitating them, but actually playing together comes later. (A note onimitation: Babies are happy to repeat any action that gets a laugh. Sowatch what you reward with a chuckle – it may not be something thatdeserves an encore!) Sharing is also too much to expect at this age.Instead, concentrate on teaching older children how to trade toys back andforth with your baby.

It's not too early to start watching for signs of empathy in your littleone – crying when another child cries, patting someone in distress, ortrying to help someone who has gotten hurt. Even though your baby can'treally understand how the sufferer feels, she's learning how to identifyand respond to feelings.

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