Many parents wonder how much their baby can understand them. The truth is that babies can grasp quite a lot, more than you may think. In fact, already in the womb babies listen to sounds and voices which later on they will be able to turn into simple words and sentences. The following review tracks a baby’s developing capacity to understand from the moment of birth to two years of age.
From birth – one month
Every single moment your baby is awake, she uses her senses to absorb new information from her immediate surroundings. Although at such an early age, her cognitive abilities are quite limited, she is still gaining new knowledge every day.
She can fully grasp nonverbal gestures, including your tone of voice, the shape of your mouth, the way you breathe, the touch of your skin. Newborns as young as 1 month are good at recognizing emotions. That is, your baby will be able to feel that you are happy, sad, angry, patientless and even tired.
At this stage your baby continues to absorb information from her close environment. She greatly enjoys watching all the exciting events taking place around her. She becomes aware that you take care of her, feed her, change her diaper, play with her and provide her with all her needs.
Most of the babies learn to smile socially in response to what you said or did. They fully understands that a smile is a great way to tell you they are happy. By the age of 3 months, your baby will also start to make different sounds and this is her new way of having a dialogue with you.
At 4 month onwards, babies already know their name and recognize when you turn to them by that name.
Moreover, your baby will get more and more aware of what is happening near her. She is able recognizes the people who are close to her – her parents, of course, but also grandparents and close relatives. She is also able distinguish them from strangers and may cry when unfamiliar people picks her up.
8-12 month old babies understand simple requests and certain words. They know when you ask them not to do something (e.g. not to touch electrical wires), and may examine your reaction in order to learn what is forbidden and what is permitted. Your baby will most likely continue to examine you time after time, stretching the boundaries of what is allowed and what is not
By the age of a year and a half, your toddler already understands a lot of words and also uses some of them herself. At this point she manages to follow simple instructions, such as come, go, bring me, etc.
Based on her understanding, your toddler is almost a child. She has already come to realize that her and your wish do not always match. She knows how to distinguish between good and bad and starts to develop complex thinking skills such as identifying cause and effect or counting from 1 to 10.