All new parents cannot wait for their little bundle of joy to say their first words.We long to know what they are thinking and hear their sweet little voices. Here are some ways to help encourage language development in your baby.
- Read to them – One great way to get your child speaking is to read with them. Read through books together, point out different pictures and say what each item is. Picture books work great. Most kids will be interested more so in looking at pictures and having them named than sitting down and reading an actual story, especially if it is long and doesn’t have interesting illustrations. Try and read at least 30 minutes per day with your child. It doesn’t have to be all in one sitting. You can split it up throughout the day. Your child will love the one on one quality time with mom and/or dad.
- Explain Everything – Tell your child everything that is happening. No, they may not be saying anything back yet and it may feel silly talking all day without a response, but this will help your child expand the language that they understand. When they hear you talk they may be more likely to babble sooner as well, giving those vocal chords lots of practice. Just because they aren’t talking doesn’t mean they don’t understand what a word means. By having these early conversations, your child will get a better grip on their vocabulary and language skills.
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – This one can get tiresome but it certainly is helpful. When naming things be sure to repeat the name more than once. If your child sees a dog say “Dog. That is a dog. Do you see the dog? The dog is fluffy.” Yes it can get tiresome repeating the same word multiple times but it helps. Repeating helps to make more connections in your child’s brain. The more times they hear it, the more likely they are to remember it.
- Sing – Singing is a great way for kids to learn. You can sing nursery rhymes or make up songs of your own for different daily activities. You can have a bath song (“This is the way we wash our hair, wash our hair, wash our hair, this is the way we wash our hair, in the bathtub.”), diaper changing song, wake up song, meal time song, clean up song, bedtime song, getting dressed song etc. Be creative and make it a fun time. Songs help children understand better. It works just like all those catchy tunes you just can’t get out of your head. So go ahead and sing. It will help your child understand and hopefully get them to utter those words you have been dying to hear.
- Never too young – Don’t ever assume that your child is too young. This is a huge mistake that parents make. They forget to explain or name things because they feel that their child is just too young to understand. The brains of babies are rapidly growing and making new connections daily. Being stimulated by new information helps them make those new connections in their brains. They are like little sponges at this age. Don’t ever assume they are too young to learn. You will be surprised!
Remember if you are worried about your child’s language skills development don’t hesitate to speak with your family doctor or a speech pathologist. They may help to determine if your concerns are valid and give you ways to help improve your child’s current situation.
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