Cracking baby talk
Ever wondered why your baby is so vocal when he or she is alone?
Or maybe wondered what they might be trying to communicate?
Making sense of the goo-goo, ga-ga, baby babble might sound challenging. However, according to psychologist Katherine Nelson, baby talk is necessary and the way small children communicate and recreate their world by re-telling and interpreting experiences from their day.
Nelson even has a theory – the Crib Talk theory – in which she suggests this early form of communication is crucial for developing your child’s emotional and cognitive skills. By communicating, your child will re-enact everything that happened in the day, so don’t be surprised if you hear an imitation of you.
Ask any mum and she will tell you. Few baby milestones are as thrilling as your child’s first words.
Pampers®, who apart from selling baby products also researches baby and toddler milestones, believes monitoring baby’s speech will help you understand what they are trying to say and where they are in their development.
Check out this easy stage-by-stage guide to baby talk:
After spending approximately nine months in a calm and relaxing environment, your baby will be startled by all the new noises and sensations. Crying, quick movements and sighs can all mean that your baby is experiencing something new. As a new parent, it isn’t easy to decipher your babies needs but you will quickly learn when your child is hungry, tired or uncomfortable.
At this stage, the baby should begin imitating the noises experienced since birth. Listen to your baby’s pitch which will drop or raise when babbling. This is a sure sign that he or she is copying the inflection in your voice. Encourage this by talking slowly and carefully to your child as much as possible.
6 to 8 months
This is the age when your child may begin to crawl. You will also start noticing your child is starting to point at toys while babbling. This is a prime example of early communication. Some babies speak their first words at this stage, often “mama” or “dada”.
12 to 18 months
Your baby should start picking up a few more words over the next couple of months. He or she may also start mimicking conversation by babbling with pauses and “responding” to questions. Although your baby’s vocabulary is still very limited, he or she understands a lot of what you say. It is essential that you keep chatting with your baby, as this will help to boost language development.
18 to 24 months
Now that your child has mastered a good number of words, he or she will start stringing them together to create simple sentences. As your child progresses, you will find it easier to communicate, which will be a welcome milestone for both of you.
According to Sister Lilian, Pampers’ leading pregnancy and parenting adviser, the best way to stimulate speech development is to talk and listen to your tot and to interact and play with them.
She lists five important things to keep in mind:
– Have a one-sided running conversation with your little one from early baby days.
– Use lots of expressions and gestures.
– Speak, sing, play music, recite nursery rhymes and read stories to your tot as often as possible.
– Be encouraging – show them you’re pleased when they speak!
– Don’t finish their sentences for them, let them say the words.
“The rate of speech development varies drastically,” says Sister Lilian.
“Remember, your little one may understand more than she can say, and some tots say very little, and then suddenly start speaking sentences! Language develops as children play and interact with others, and more physical tots may take a little longer. Tots with older siblings often speak less, as their siblings speak for them!”