grammar When people imitate the way toddlers speak, they often don't use correct grammar because such mistakes are thought to be a characteristic of the way young children communicate. But in "Grammar May Be Hidden in Toddler Babble," Yahoo! News reports on research that says differently.

While studying toddlers who speak French, researchers found that "…a pattern of sounds and puffs of air that seemed to replace grammatical words in many cases. Their findings suggest that toddlers may properly use little words (as, a, an, can, is) sooner than thought. " Since these pauses and sounds were right where a more experienced speaker would use those little words, this indicates that while toddlers may leave out some words, it is not because they are completely unaware of the need for these words. Researchers expect they’d find the same kind of results with toddlers that speak English.

The article also mentioned earlier studies that found that toddlers are able grasp complex grammatical structure before they are able to speak in complete sentences. Toddlers were able to match pictures to phrases with made-up verbs in ways that indicated that they understood how verbs work.

What does this mean? It means that your children are listening when you speak and the fact that they don't always express themselves correctly does not mean they lack understanding. A child's mind is taking in a lot and it takes a while before he or she can reproduce speech as they hear it.

It also means that it is important to make sure your child is in an environment that stimulates the mind during these important developmental years. In our Toddler Care Program, toddlers, ages 18 months through 36 months, participate in numerous social and educational activities that focus on learning and development.