Our child’s first words are often something we eagerly wait for and never forget. These first words are often our first insight into our child’s thoughts and hearing them, especially if they are “muma” or “dada” is super exciting. But how do you get from simple sounds to first words? Read some tips to help your baby learn to talk!
Use Real Words That Your Baby Can Use Everyday
There is so much we can do to support this lovely early language. Children are like sponges, so what they see and hear us do is what they will try to copy. When starting out, think about the language your child will see, hear and will want to use most … e.g. names of special people (mummy, daddy, grandad, etc.), favourite toys (bunny, car, teddy), instructions (yes, no, look). These are the words that will be most useful and therefore most motivating to get your little one talking.
Start Talking to Your Baby As Early As Possible
It is never too early. Although most children use their first words around 12 months, they start learning about language and communication from their very first few days of life. Try and chat with your child about the day to day things you are doing together and name the things you see and do along the way.
Typically they will start to use vowel sounds, then add some early consonants like “BBB”, “DDD” and “MMM”, and then often around 12 months some single words might emerge. Like most things with children, their developmental timelines are all a little different. Therefore do not worry if other children are progressing at a different rate than yours. However, if you ever have any concerns you can talk to your Health Visitor or contact your local Speech and Language Therapy department.
Keep It Interactive and Engaging
If you are not sure where to start, have a look at the Speech Blubs App. There are loads of activities, songs, conversation starters and games to support early word learning and to give you ideas of words you can model to your child when you are out and about. Play with your toddler and talk about what you see and do in the app!
Simple Rules for Teaching Your Baby to Talk
- Get their attention using their name so you know they are listening and looking.
- Keep your language simple, using mainly single words to name objects and actions.
- Model the language yourself for them to listen to.
- Repeat the words as often as possible for them to hear.
- Make it fun so they are excited to listen and look.
- Show them the object or action you are naming as you name it.
- Interpret what they say. If they make a sound, guess what word it might be and say it back for them.
- Quit the questions. It is easy to end up quizzing our children, e.g “what’s that?” however try instead to say the words for them to listen to and learn from.
Fun Facts About Your Baby’s Language Development
- Using baby-talk or motherese (the high, sing-song voice adults often use when talking to babies) actually does help babies to learn the language.
- Boys often do talk later than girls! However normally only by a few months so the girls better enjoy it while it lasts.
- A child learning more than one language from birth (bilingual kids) often become extra super talkers when they are older.
More Tips to Boost Your Child’s Speech
Have a go this week at encouraging some early words. Pick a time that is good for you and your child and have some fun! Discover more ideas on how to encourage communication, how to play with your toddler and how to use Speech Blubs App to your advantage.