From the day your little one was born, you have yearned to hear him or her utter a single word: Mama. You tell your partner you don’t care which comes first, and you tease that your baby is more likely to honor some other integral piece of your life (like the dog’s name, or some curse word you’ve been guilty of dropping). But really… you’re waiting for “Mama.”
And, of course, for the day your baby’s language development allows him or her to actually converse with you.
Most babies have a handful of words by age one, and they are starting to string them together into short sentences by two. But if you are anxious for the day real communication can begin, there are ways you can help to encourage your baby towards those language development milestones.
- Read: Your little one is never too young to be read to, and making story time a part of your nightly routine can help him or her to develop a lifelong love of reading. Be sure to angle the book so that they can see the pictures, and choose stories that provide the opportunity for you to alter your voice and express enthusiasm. Your baby is sure to love that!
- Narrate Your Life: Don’t ever feel silly talking to your baby! In fact, tell him or her everything you are doing as you go about your day. For instance, “Mommy is going to get you a blanket now,” or “What do you think about sitting in your swing while Mommy makes us dinner?” Just because they don’t respond, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be engaging in the conversation. And the more you talk, the more they will learn how to associate those words to what you are talking about.
- Babywear: If you haven’t worn your baby up to now, it may be time to consider doing so. There are a lot of different options for wearing your baby on your chest as you go about your day, and doing so can increase interactions between you and your little one, thereby improving your ability to narrate.
- Tell Nursery Rhymes: Nursery rhymes have a rhythm that captures the attention of little ones and engages them in ways simple story telling might not. So memorize a few of your favorites, and repeat them throughout the day.
- Sing: Most babies love music, and just as with nursery rhymes, singing has the ability to uniquely draw them into the words you are sharing. So sing along to the radio, cultivate your own lullaby, and introduce a few classic children’s songs. Bonus: Sometimes busting into tune is the perfect way to get your baby to smile for a picture!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.