Imitation: 8-10 months
For a typically developing child, imitation should occur between 8-10 months. Some kids may begin imitating sounds earlier. Kids learn sounds by imitating them! This should always be encouraged. In fact, you can make a fun game out of it in order to encourage MORE imitation. My 10 month old and I were playing this game this morning.
You can do this activity with magnetic letters, flashcard letters, or simply a letter you wrote on a piece of paper. My son and I were playing with the magnetic letters on the refrigerator. I put up the letters that I wanted him to start to practice. He sat in front of the letters and would grab one. I would praise him for getting the letter and then I would make the sound 3 times (ex: /k/ /k/ /k/). I would then tell him it was his turn. If he didn't imitate, then I'd repeat the process. If he still didn't imitate me then I would place my hand under my chin while saying the sound and then put my hand under his chin to show him that it was his turn. He didn't always imitate my sounds, but I would praise him if he did. He would inevitably get another sound and we would repeat the process.
- Make sure to get really close to your child and let them look at your mouth. It's important for them to know where your tongue is in relation to your lips, teeth, and "roof" of your mouth.
- Always be encouraging.
- If your refrigerator is not magnetic, then you can grab a cookie sheet and put the magnetic letters on that!
- If you are using flashcard letters, then you could always scatter them on the floor and let your kiddo crawl around to them.
Have fun with imitation!!!