There are many things you can do, pretty much from day one, that will help your baby’s language development. Here are my top 20 tips on encouraging baby to talk.
From day oneAlways maintain eye contact when you are talking or singing to him (more so than you would an adult).When talking to her, nod your head enthusiastically at every sound she makes, it may help you if you say “yes” or “I know” when doing this.Pull funny faces at him and make funny noises, stick your tongue out and make ooh (pout) and aaagh (think dentist trip) mouth shapes (with accompanying sounds).Sing nursery rhymes with hand gestures such as the wheels on the bus, incy wincy spider, row row row etc. You may also want to look at a local baby signing class.Read books regularly and enthusiastically. Discover things for the first time with your baby, over and over again. Point to the pictures and tell him what it is.Be enthusiastic; over empathise words and your pitch, particularly when asking questions or discovering ‘new’ things.
As your baby growsContinue talking and pointing out objects, people and all of the aboveAllow her time to gurgle and reply with your own baby sounds, this will teach her how conversations work.Keep the tv switched off – this is a distraction for you both.Call your child by her name at the start of each conversation, this will help her to recognise her own name and help you get her attention.Be patient with your child when he starts to formulate small sentences and never finish a sentence for him.Restrict dummy use to sleep time only, it’s hard to talk and even harder to be understood when you have a dummy in your mouth.Use as many hand gestures as you can, this helps to reinforce meaning and build associations.Explain to your child what is happening on an ongoing basis “We are going to have some breakfast now, can you sit in your big chair?”Give your child options, for example, show her some fruit and ask “Would you like a banana or strawberry?” Your child will soon start making her own choices.
Once your child can copy soundsPoint out coloursDiscover animal sounds together – “Here is a cow, the cow says moo. Can you say moo?”Count itemsDiscover new songs/nursery rhymes togetherContinue to discover new things together with the same enthusiasm as before.
The most important thing is to talk and to listen to your child. Empower him to start conversations and encourage his inquisitiveness about the world around him. Always make time and take the time to listen to your child and never rush him. If at any point you are concerned about your child’s language development, go and see your GP. Don’t wait for a routine check! I hope you found this page helpful.