16 Gestures by 16 Months

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Children Should Learn at Least 16 Gestures by 16 Months


Good communication development starts in the first year of life and goes far beyond learning how to talk. Communication development has its roots in social interaction with parents and other caregivers during everyday activities. Your child’s growth in social communication is important because it helps your child connect with you, learn language and play concepts, and sets the stage for learning to read and future success in school. Good communication skills are the best tool to prevent behavior problems and make it easier to work through moments of frustration that all infants and toddlers face.


By observing children’s early gestures, you can obtain a critical snapshot of their communication development. Even small lags in communication milestones can add up and impact a child’s rate of learning that is difficult to change later. Research with young children indicates that the development of gestures from 9 to 16 months predicts language ability 2 years later, which is significant because preschool language skills predict academic success. So it’s important to remember that by 16 months, children should have at least 16 gestures.


Let’s consider how gestures develop. While the order or specific gestures may vary slightly, children should be using at least 2 new gestures each month between 9 and 16 months.


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