While discovering the power of speech is a natural part of development, how you interact with your baby can have a big impact on their learning.
Here’s Talking Tots top ten tips to get your baby talking:
When you buy a buggy, invest in one that lets your baby face you. For his first year, you’re his best source of entertainment, and being face-to-face means he’s able to watch you when you’re talking to him.
Don’t anticipate your baby’s needs. If she points to the fridge, ask him if she wants milk or juice rather than just getting her a glass of milk. Use every opportunity to ask questions with options rather than those requiring a nod or shake of the head!
Provide a commentary to your baby’s day. Even before your baby can speak, talking about what you’re doing together helps him to associate words with the things he sees. It doesn’t have to be complicated – just pointing out the red bus he’s looking at, or explaining all the delicious ingredients you’re putting into his lunch will be fine.
Make sure if you ask your baby a question, you leave time for him to respond. He might not speak, but those little babbles, giggles and noises are your baby’s way of joining in the conversation!
When you’re reading stories together, give your theatrical skills a full airing – make silly sound effects and create funny voices for the characters. When your child sees that language and words are fun, they’re more likely to join in themselves and try out new words.
Don’t correct young children if they mispronounce words; you might put them off trying new words next time. Instead, repeat their words back to them, using the correct pronunciation yourself. They’ll soon get the idea!
Sing songs with your child, especially those with fun noises and actions. Encouraging her to join in will develop her vocabulary and memory.
Use simple games to introduce numbers, colours and letter sounds. As you tidy up, suggest he finds the red toys while you put away the yellow toys. Challenge your toddler to count blocks when you build towers, or steps as you go upstairs. Playing “I Spy” is a great way of introducing phonics to young children.
Imaginative play is a great way for older toddlers to practice their conversation skills – most three year olds love bossing their toys around! This doesn’t have to be expensive: most children will be just as happy with peg dolls and a cardboard box ‘house’.
Encourage your child to get involved in household chores. As you sort the laundry, talk about colours and shapes. In the kitchen, let children help with weighing ingredients, or mixing foods together.
About the author: Talking Tots offers fun, interactive and educational classes to help pre-schoolers develop their communication and learning skills including expressive language development, vocabulary and basic pre-literacy skills – all ready for big school!
Talking Tots classes are currently running in the Essex area. Click here to find out more about these classes.
Is your little one talking yet? Are you worried about them not talking yet? Has your little one been referred to a speech therapist? Please let us know by commenting below.