Every parent waits with bated breath to hear their little baby’s first precious word–and no matter when it happens, it’s a moment none of us will ever forget! Although most children naturally learn language simply by being around it, there are several things you can do to ensure your little one is on track with his or her language development. And the coolest part? You don’t have to be a teacher or a speech therapist to help coach your kiddo. In fact, you’re probably using most of these tips already! Here are a few simple ways to aid your baby’s language development.
Talk to your baby
The easiest way to teach your baby how to talk is by talking to her (or him). Seems overly simple, right? Well, it’s actually quite easy to forget to talk to a child who can’t talk back. When you narrate your baby’s life, it helps your little pumpkin learn language. So, when you’re changing a diaper, giving a bath, or getting your little tot dressed, tell your baby what you’re doing and why. It will go a long way in teaching her or him how to use language.
Bring on the books
Reading to your baby is just about the best thing you can do for language development. When you read to tiny tot, you help her or him learn vocabulary, expression, and tone. Choose books that have a repetitive theme like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, which are great for learning vocabulary words. Or opt for books like Clean-Up Time, which encourage appropriate behavior. Reading time is not only educational; it’s great bonding time as well!
Sing, sing a song
You don’t have to have perfect pitch to sing to a baby, so get in the mood to get your song on! Babies learn so much through song, especially songs that repeat patterns and vocabulary like “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” and the super-fun “Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes” (sing it with me now!). Babies learn quickly when they learn through song and your singing will delight them as they soak up language.
Use sign language
You can teach your baby communication before he or she even learns to speak. You don’t have to be an expert in American Sign Language to teach your baby a few basic signs like “please”, “milk”, and “more.” Check a book out from the library or search for baby sign language videos on YouTube. The faster your baby can communicate – whether through signs or through speech – the happier you’ll both be!
Are you ready to be your baby’s first teacher? Just try these simple teaching tools and get ready to ooh and aah over all the wonderful things he or she has to say! Is your baby a talker? What was his or her first word or cutest phrase? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Image by Beth Nazario via Creative Commons