Development of the newborn, how the understanding of words and concepts evolves

Who I am
Marie-Ange Demory
Author and references

Source: Shutterstock

Babies cannot, of course, speak a language or fully understand the words they hear, but they learn very quickly. Numerous studies have shown that babies begin to listen to their parents' voices while they are still in the womb.

Once born, they begin to tune into your words and sentences to understand what you are saying. Additionally, as infants they use their "powers of observation" to learn some of the more complicated things (including love, trust, time, and cause-and-effect relationships) that exist in their physical and emotional world.

Let's try to understand how the understanding of words, attitudes, concepts evolves in the various stages of a child's development. 

In this article


  • How the baby interacts in the various stages of growth
  • 1 month
  • 2 3 from a month 
  • 4 7 from a month
  • 8 12 from a month
  • 13 18 from a month
  • 19 23 from a month
  • 24 36 from a month
  • From 2 to 3 years
  • What comes next
  • The role of parents
Read also: The stages of the child's development, from birth to 6 years

How the baby interacts in the various stages of growth

The baby begins to learn what others say and do even before birth. As a baby he doesn't know the precise meaning of the words you use, but captures your emotions, including happiness, sadness, love, worry, anxiety, and anger.

When he is 7 months old, will react to your name and between 8 and 12 months will include simple directives like "No" or "Don't touch".

At 24 months, will be able to speak to you in sentences of two or three words. At the age of about 3 he will have a vocabulary of about two hundred words and a good perception of the activities of daily living (including grocery shopping and house cleaning) and the knowledge that when night comes, you need to go to sleep.

1 month

In every waking moment the one month old baby uses his senses to acquire new information about the world around him. He still doesn't have the information that adults and older children use to interpret what they see, but builds that pool of knowledge every day.
The child remains emotionally in tune with the people closest to him. He responds to the tone of your voice and your smile. The one month old baby forms his version of reality from the way you respond to him: feeling safe because you go to him when he cries, look him lovingly in the eyes and feed him when he is hungry.

As the child's motor skills advance, his memory improves, his attention span becomes longer, his speech becomes better, and his social skills become more refined.

2 3 from a month

The child continues to absorb everything in his environment. His favorite activity is to observe what is happening around him. Now he understands that you will give him relief, feed him and play with him when he needs you. She will delight you with her first genuine smile.

The 2 or 3 month old baby understands that smiling is a way to let you know that he is satisfied. Within 3 months he will add some sounds (gurgling, etc.) to his smile, initiating a "primitive form" of conversation with you.

4 7 from a month

The baby now knows his name and he understands, when you say it, that you are addressing him. It will also respond by turning to you. She is getting more and more in tune with your tone of voice.

When you appear happy, he will react with joy and if you talk to him anxiously he will feel distressed and may cry. She is also starting to understand the difference between strangers and people she knows, and he might cry when you put him in the arms of someone he doesn't recognize.

8 12 from a month

The child is beginning to understand simple requests. For example, if you say "no" when he tries to touch an electrical outlet, he will stop and look at you, perhaps even shaking his head to say "no" in turn.

He is also testing your responses to his behavior: not to be mean, but to better understand how the world around him works. It may happen that the little one throws food on the floor just to see what you will do, so try to "file" your answer in his "memory database". 

The baby is also starting to associate gestures with certain actions and words, such as waving your hand when someone leaves the room or shaking your head back and forth to refuse something to eat.

13 18 from a month

By 18 months, the baby should be able to understand and use some words. And he will be able to follow your directions, even if they involve two separate actions, like, for example: "Collect those buildings and put them in the toy chest."

19 23 from a month

Your child is beginning to understand that his desires may not match yours. He will try to assert himself, for example by crossing his arms resolutely under his armpits when you want him to hold your hand instead.

It is also starting to understand simple concepts like space and dimension. This means that he can now probably put together a basic puzzle, tell the difference between a circle and a square, and can place each geometric shape in the appropriate place.

He is also trying to understand how things work: he knows that when he pulls the lever of his "magic box", for example, a clown jumps out. This new skill will come in handy when he's ready for toilet training.

Before your child gives up on diapers for good, must learn to establish a connection between the need to pee or poop and the use of the potty. At this stage you are just starting to get to know this process. later he will also understand that when he pulls the toilet handle, the urine and feces disappear down the drain.

24 36 from a month

By now your child has a fairly good understanding of the language and he understands a lot more than he can tell.

Development experts say that most 2-year-olds have a vocabulary of at least 50 words and that by age 3 they will have about 200 words. As language acquisition is well underway, your child can now turn his attention to more complicated concepts involving emotions.

From 2 to 3 years

Between 2 and 3 years, your child will understand the basic building blocks of relationships: love and trust. He knows that you and the rest of the family take care of him and are on his side. He learned these important concepts from the way you treated him early in his life. By showering him with affection, responding to his needs and protecting him, you have helped him become a confident and optimistic child.

As you watch your day go by, your child also begins to understand some of the more complicated aspects of daily life, such as grocery shopping and reading the time. He is also gaining a deeper understanding of how he should treat other people. If you want him to grow up and become a kind and helpful person, be sure to treat him and everyone else this way.

What comes next

The number of words your child knows and speaks continues to grow rapidly. Over the next few years it will include increasingly complex ideas and situations (for example, he will be able to count to 10, tell the difference between fantasy and reality and understand the rules).

The role of parents

Talking and reading to your child helps them learn good communication skills. Start reading stories to your baby from an early age and it will give him a boost in learning words and other new skills as it grows. Even if your child won't understand words or still won't be able to follow a story, they will feel that reading is enjoyable, that it is relaxing, and that it is a great way to spend time with you.

Playing with your child helps them learn more about the way the world works. Challenge him with age-appropriate toys and games to encourage his mental and physical development.

  Be loving and show your child how much you love them, and give them a safe and loving environment at home. This is the best way to raise a happy and confident child. Praise good behavior far more than you emphasize bad behavior.   Try to encourage the behaviors you want to see in the child at least four times more often than correcting bad behaviors. You will love the results and your child will follow you.     Source for this article: Read also: The agenda of the newborn from 0 to 12 months

  • psyche
  • understanding of words
  • newborn development
add a comment of Development of the newborn, how the understanding of words and concepts evolves
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.