Encouraging Your Baby To Speak
If you're a Mom or Dad with a new baby, it's very natural to be excited about the day when he will say his first words. You'll be pleased to know, in that case, that there are things you can do to help him on his way! But before you start, why not check out our baby development chart to get an idea of what skills, including language and communication skills, you can expect your baby to develop and when? Remember, all babies develop at their own pace and yours will speak when she is good and ready, in meantime, you can have a lot of fun helping her.
Tips For Talking Babies
Talk, talk, talk - imitation is a big part of language development in babies and your baby needs material to work with. Who's the best person to provide that? You, of course! You should talk to your baby all the time; describe what you are doing while you're dressing him, feeding him, changing him, etc. Name the objects that he sees every day; for example, say "socks" when you are putting on his socks, name other objects in the room, his toys, the colours he sees around him. Try to speak naturally and clearly.
Baby talk - those cooing noises that adults make at babies really do help. Make vowel and consonant sounds for your baby while you are playing with her. The noises you make don't always have to make sense, she's a baby! "Ba ba ba" sounds just as good to her as any real word.
Socialize - your baby will benefit from being around groups of people using language, be they adults or children. Taking him out to a mother and baby group or having him in the room when visitors come over lets him hear what people are saying.
Respond to her - when you baby tries to communicate, you should respond to her laughter, gestures and facial expressions. Moreover, you can encourage her to imitate your gestures, such as pointing, clapping and peek-a-boo. Make eye contact with your baby and answer her attempts at communication with speech as well as movements of your hands and face.
Sing and dance - play music, sing songs and dance with your baby. This adds to his experience of visual and aural stimulation.
Read - read stories to your baby.
Sign language - you could try baby sign language as a way of communication with her. Check out our article on signing for babies if this is something you are interested in.
Educational toys - picture books and flashcards can be a great stimulus for babies. You can show your baby the images and name them out loud. Many well-known providers of toys for babies also sell more sophisticated toys designed to encourage baby speech. A simple online search will help you find these.
Watching and helping your baby develop her powers of speech should be a fun and enjoyable time for both you and her. Don't get disheartened if things don't move along as quickly as you'd hoped and avoid getting drawn into unhealthy competition with other parents. Your baby's time will come. If you have concerns, see your pediatrician.