Waiting for your little one to utter his first words can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking moment. But, why eagerly wait when you can proactively hone your baby’s speech development. In this article, you will learn a variety of strategies that you can use in developing your child’s speech.
When should you start training your little one?
One of the most common questions asked by a lot of new parents is when they should actually start honing their babies’ speech skills. Here, you might think that this should be when he is already babbling syllables, as this can be thought of the first time when he “talks”.
In reality, though, speech development actually begins at birth. In fact, in a study conducted by child psychologists, they discovered that the more words a newborn hears while still in neonatal intensive care, the more likely they are to respond back with their own soulnds. This is because, even at birth, your child’s hearing is already quite acute, which means he will be able to respond to a variety of sounds.
Thus, talking to your newborn is actually going to be a good idea. However, don’t stop there. Have a conversation with other people while he is around. Your little one will not understand what you two are talking about, but he will still be able to train on your voice and will definitely have fun with it.
By the time he hits his third month, your child will already start babbling. At this point, his eyesight has also become well developed that he will be able to recognize your face. Hence, when talking to him, hold him close to your face so that he has a good view of your eyes. Imitating the sound he makes is a good idea as it mimics conversation.
When your child has reached the third quarter of his first year, he already is able to grasp the meaning of words he commonly hears. Reinforce this more by showing him the objects often. You can also ask him questions about the objects and say the answer to him if he can’t respond.
Upon hitting his first birthday, your little one will start uttering his first words. These will usually be the various objects that he encounters every day. As is with the above, presenting him with the objects often and asking questions about them will help expand your child’s vocabulary. Smiling and clapping whenever he pronounces the words correctly is also helpful in encouraging him.
At two years old, your child already has a greatly expanded vocabulary. By this point, you both have more opportunities to converse with each other, so make the most of it. Introduce new activities like role-playing and storytelling. However, don’t forget the various strategies that have worked before and continue those.
Making speech learning fun
One of the important keys you have to remember when honing your child’s speech and language faculties is that it should be a fun experience for him. Children at this age learn better if they see it as more of playtime rather than a chore that they have to accomplish. You yourself would be more relaxed when teaching him, which in turn, will also help him absorb all that you teach.
So, how do you make it fun for your little tyke? Here are some good suggestions.
1. Get down on the floor
Your little one’s imagination is stimulated when he sees a lot of colorful toys around him. This, in turn, will get him talking about all of his favorite toys. Thus, don’t hesitate and just scatter all his playthings on the floor. From there, you can let him pick up whatever item he fancies and tell you all that he knows about them.
Here, it is important that you let him take the lead, instead of you deciding on the games. And as have already been said, never reprimand him when he makes a mistake.
2. Do a lot of pretend play
This is yet another great way for you to stimulate your child’s imagination and speech. The idea here is that anything can be your child’s toy, even you. For this one, you can pretend to be your child’s favorite teddy bear. Make up stories as what the teddy bear is doing and couple your words with actions for your child to have a good grasp of what you are telling.
3. Read, read, read
One question that you will likely be asking at this point is when you should start reading to your child. Surprisingly, you can actually do this even if he is just a few months old. Here, you don’t have to worry about the actual story, since your aim is to simply stimulate his hearing and have a shared experience.
As to what type of books to read, those which have large colorful pictures and little words would be a good choice as you will then have the freedom to craft your own tale. Once he is older, you can shift to books with a more structured story.
4. Go out and explore
Don’t limit your child’s world to the household. Instead, go out and explore the garden or the park and ask him to name the various animals and plants that he sees. Another great activity is to have him close his eyes and listen to the various sounds. Then, you can ask him to describe what he heard.
Remember that your child’s speech development is a continuing process. So, be sure that are always right behind him to answer the various questions he asks and listen to all the stories he comes up with.