How to Promote Language Development in Your Baby
To Promote Language Development, TALK ALL OF THE TIME ABOUT EVERYTHING!
From the time they are born, babies begin absorbing everything around them. Long before they ever utter a word on their own, they learn the names of things and categorize what they are exposed to.
Talking seems like a relatively a small thing to do is because it is so EASY. However, it's a HUGE thing because of how important it is for our children's language development.
When I say talk about everything, I mean excessively narrate (and even repeat) everything about every interaction with your child.
Here's an example:
"Mommy is sitting in the chair; blue chair; blue; chair. I have pants on my legs. My pants are black. Leg. Knee. Ankle. Foot. Toes. Where are your toes? Are these your toes? Mommy is going to eat your toes."
This can be a bit uncomfortable for people who tend to not be big talkers. By nature, I am not an overly social talkative person. When our daughter was an infant, sometimes I would run out of things to say and so I would grab a book and start reading it out loud just so that she could continue to have language flooding her little ears rather than silence.
Long before they ever utter a word on their own, they are learning the names of things and categorizing what they are exposed to.
I didn’t even just stick to children's books. I read to her out loud from the novels that I was reading for my own pleasure. Don't solely rely on this strategy however, because though it's beneficial to continue producing language for your child to hear, listening to John Steinbeck’s description of the central plains is a lot less meaningful than hearing “bird, bird, bird,” while pointing to a picture of a bird.This "talk to your child all of the time about everything" strategy is only one piece of the language puzzle, yet it's so important.
I can't tell you how many times my daughter has uttered a word that we didn't actually teach her to say. Instead, she heard the word said somewhere and then used it on her own in the correct context.
It tells me that she is, indeed, picking up and learning new words just by listening to other people say them and use them. Because this process can start LONG before you expect your child to start making sounds and talking, speaking to your baby is the first thing you should really learn how to do.
When a child has meaningful ways to express what they want or need, how they feel, you will see a lot fewer tantrums and other inappropriate behavior.
Our kids use tantrums and other inappropriate behavior to communicate with us (Read: Misbehavior = Communication and How to Deal with Tantrums). By empowering them with the means and tools to communicate, you'll see those types of tantrums decrease because there is not as much of a need for them.
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Instructional Video: Teaching Baby to Talk
Watch this short instructional video with "Best Kept Parenting Secrets" for how to teach your baby to talk: