Birth to 2 years
* Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba."
* Identify color
* Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with a specific meaning: "The dog says woof-woof."
* Expand on single words your baby uses: "Here is mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby."
2 to 4 years
*Repeat what your child says indicating that you understand. Build and expand on what was said. "Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?"
* Expand vocabulary. Name body parts, and identify what you do with them. "This is my nose. I can smell flowers, brownies, popcorn, and soap."
* Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes to show the rhythm and pattern of speech.
* Place familiar objects in a container. Have your child remove the object and tell you what it is and how to use it. "This is my ball. I bounce it. I play with it."
4 to 6 years
* Continue to build vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its definition, or use it in a context that is easily understood. This may be done in an exaggerated, humorous manner. "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
* Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down; on and off).
* Encourage your child to give directions. Follow his or her directions as he or she explains how to build a tower of blocks.
* Offer a description or clues, and have your child identify what you are describing: "We use it to sweep the floor" (a broom). "It is cold, sweet, and good fro dessert. I like the strawberry flavor" (ice cream).