My son started talking at a very early age. By the time he was one year old, he knew about 50 words and could put three or four together to create simple sentences. Everyone was always so surprised to hear such a young baby talk so plainly. Several people asked me how I had been able to teach him so many words. All babies are different, and each one will learn at his or her own pace. There are a few things I did with my son that I feel really helped him along the way.
Read Read Read
I started reading and talking to my baby while I was pregnant with him. The day I found out I was pregnant, I got some children’s books to read to my unborn child. I didn’t stop there, if I was reading the newspaper or a magazine I read that out loud, too. When I was searching through the parenting websites I was reading out loud any bits of valuable information I found. My husband thought I was crazy sometimes, but I really think it helped. Now that he is one year old, he will not go to bed without a bedtime story.
Encourage Your Baby
Even if he isn’t forming any real words yet, let your baby know he is doing a great job when he starts making a new sound. It’s great when people appreciate the things you do. Babies thrive on attention so they will keep trying to please you and eventually start saying real words. When they finally do get those precious words out, clap or cheer for them. Do what makes your baby happy. He deserves all that good attention when he reaches such a big accomplishment.
Don’t Push Too Hard
It’s tempting to sit in front of baby and repeatedly ask him to “Say Mama, say Mama,” but this usually doesn’t work. Baby gets bored of listening to you repeat the same two words over and over without really meaning anything. He will eventually start tuning you out. If he does actually repeat the words, he probably doesn’t really know what he is saying, he is just imitating his favorite person.
Can You Repeat That Please?
It’s no surprise that many babies learn words such as mama, dada, and no-no first. They hear these words all the time, especially if the parents refer to themselves in the third person. My son’s first word was the name of one of our dogs. He heard us talking to them several times a day and realized that when we called their names, they came running. It worked for him, too. He called “Woodo!” and Trixie Woodle came running. He had just received positive reinforcement. His next two words were the names of the other dog and the cat.
I held “conversations” with my son from the time he first started babbling. I would explain what I was doing and then ask him a question. If he babbled an answer, I would agree with him and thank him for his input. As he started learning more and more real words, I would use the same words in my response and we would start to have real conversations. Hearing the word repeated several times in the conversation would also allow my baby to work on his pronunciation. One example of this is how he used to say milk. I would ask him if he was thirsty and he would say “ick.” I knew that meant milk, so I would say “Oh okay, Mommy will get you a cup of milk.” When he took his first drink I would ask him if it was good milk. Before long he learned how to actually say milk.
Talk About It
When baby starts saying new words, explain what the words mean. Sometimes baby hears a word a lot but might not know exactly what it is. My son thought that anything we put on him was a “bankie.” We slowly taught him that a blanket was different than a towel because of what they were used for. We never told him he was wrong when he called a towel a blanket, we just explained to him what we were using the towel for while making sure to use the proper word.
Follow Baby’s Lead
Some babies start babbling at only three or four months old or even younger, others wait until they are around a year old. Your baby will start whenever he is ready to. Don’t try to force your baby to start earlier, he is probably busy working on another skill. Give your baby time, and he will start talking on his own.