I remember it like it was yesterday. Bubs was laying on the floor, playing with a friend’s baby. He looked at me, circled his face with his finger, and said, “I don’t know what this means.” He knew that the baby was telling him something but didn’t understand what her face was sharing. After talking about her eyes, mouth, and body language, he figured out that she was very excited.
What we are talking about is pragmatics – the skill which allows a child to correctly express himself and understand what is said. In the example above, Bubs struggled to express to me his need and didn’t understand what the baby was telling him. Imagine living your entire life without this ability!
Pragmatics…More Than Words
Continuing the information shared on this blog two weeks ago, pragmatics is imperative for children. It is so important that as parents and teachers we must make pragmatics a priority in daily activities.
“[Pragmatics] is not just the words that are used when speaking but, also refers to the subtleties such as, what the speaker implied, how something is said, appropriateness and the use of eye contact, body language and intonation. …We use our pragmatic language daily. Components of pragmatics such as eye contact and smiling develop at an early age. The unspoken conversation rules are learned through watching other’s interaction [sic]. Children learn about taking turns, engaging others and communicating important information.”1
Meeting pragmatic milestones is important to the child’s ability to communicate. And this skill is crucial for life!
Below is a printable list of milestones I was given when Bubs was in Speech Therapy.2 Using the simple ideas shared in the last post about pragmatics, work on these developmental areas with your child. And be sure to talk to your pediatrician if concern develops.
Here are a few milestones to get you started, but be sure to print the full list below.
Age Birth – 6 months
- Smiles when spoken to
- Establishes eye contact
Age 6-12 months
- Responds to “no”
- Smiles at self in mirror
Age 1-2 Years
- Waves bye-bye
- Refers to self by name
- Talks to self during play
Age 2-3 Years
- Holds up fingers to tell age
- Helps put things away
Age 3-4 Years
- Follows 2-step related directions without cues
- Takes turns and plays cooperatively
Age 4-5 Years
- Follows 3-step directions without cues
- Uses language to resolve disputes with peers
Age 5-6 Years
- Likes to complete projects
- Engages in cooperative play
Print the Complete Pragmatics Milestone Chart
Travel to the ABCJesusLovesMe Resource Library to print the FREE Pragmatic Milestones Chart for your family. If you are unsure how to access the library, click to learn more or subscribe to receive the link!
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1 Source: https://www.sensationalkids.ie/understanding-helping-pragmatic-language-development/
2 Pragmatic Milestone Source: LiguiSystems, Inc