Hey mama! Wait, has your baby said that word just yet? This word is so magical that you want to cry, laugh, jump and just call everyone to tell them that your baby said MAMA! Which word did your baby say first? I would love to know (comment below). So, my baby’s first word was…you guessed just right…it was MAMA! You just can’t forget that day just like your first kiss. It happened on this fateful day when she was sick and I didn’t go to work. We decided to go sun basking to try and brighten her up. After we settled down on a chair, she looked into my eyes and said…..MA..MA! ooooh! My face was lit! I forgot that she was sick. I was so excited. I called my husband to share the good news. Actually we had bet on the first word she would say……between dada for mama. So I won the bet.
Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. No, am not saying that she stop saying MAMA. She still says. The problem is that it stopped being her favourite word as soon as she discovered the word DADDY! She says it all the time. Even as I write this, she is somewhere in a corner playing as she says …DADDY…DADDY…DADDY. She even knows when he is back from work. The moment that door bell rings, she will stop everything and crawl or walk to the door and shouts…DADDY! As I lift her up and drift the curtain, I see my hubby smiling…and she becomes so excited that she wants to open the door for him. As we receive that evening hug…she is busy saying DADDY! My hubby responds…TOTO…and she repeats…DADDY….he responds TOTO…and the song goes on. Am happy though a little jealous…Baby girl! I spend most time with you….I breastfeed even while he (the dad) is snoring….I will wake up at night to even scratch your itchiness when you need it…and yet your favorite word and person is DADDY? CASE CLOSED!
Talking is great step for every baby. They are all different and they talk at different time. One thing I love about being a mom is that you can influence how fast your baby talks. Infact, the power is in your hands. Most of us due to changing times, we don’t spend a lot of time with our babies. Yes, because we work or run businesses. So most of the kids spend most times with nannies or at daycare. There is no problem with that. However, this has an influence on how your baby learns the language. I have a very quiet nanny. By the way she just doesn’t talk much. So, when I decide to work from home, I have noticed that my baby is always babbling words by herself as the house girls is busy watching TV. She knows her job, respectful and clean. The only time they talk is when she is feeding her or changing diapers. So, when I noticed this, I decided to be talky talky mom every time we are with her. I keep repeating same word every day. If you don’t take this initiative, your baby might just delay to talk. My colleague’s son talked at three and half years and it was after she took her to school. Why delay while you can speed it up? I want to give you some tips of how to train language to your baby.
- Talk to your baby all the time– Please do it all the time from pregnancy is possible. Make your time together more interactive. I suggest that you use the same words every day. Talk to them about the activity you are doing. For example during bath times you can use words like. “Who is taking a bath? Catch up on the day activities eg. “ How was your day” “ Are you enjoying your shower?”. They may not understand but they hear. Eventually they will babble back and eventually speak. Take advantage of diaper changing moment and talk to her face to face, smile or even sing.
- Elongate your vowels– We are dealing with someone who has never talked. They don’t know any language. Whichever language you opt to use, make sure you pro-long the pronunciation of the vowels. It makes them understand the words. From your English classes vowels were (a,e,i,o,u). When using a word like “Baby”…..say it “baaaaby”, “mummy”…say it …”Muuuuuuummy”…..shoes…..say it like “shooooooooes”. Am sure you are doing this already.
- Create a song– Studies showing that babies pay more attention to sing-songy voices. The reason why your baby bubbles along some TV adverts is because the adverts have a song in it and it catches their attention. What I do is that I sing almost all the time when we doing activities. They actually don’t care about your voice or the song have similar tune. Just sing…e.g I want to play…I want to play…play with my baby” If you repeat this every day…in a month you baby will say one of the words in the song.
- Follow her gaze- Watch what your baby is looking at, guess what he might be thinking about and then speak those thoughts out loud. For instance, if she looking at a cup….touch and tell her “ cup” “You want this cup”. If she is looking at a dog “Look at the dog”. This motivates the baby and encourages her to talk. Next time she will see a dog she will point at it and bubble some words. Repeat the cycle until she learns to talk.
- Give a chance for your baby to respond– After you’ve said something to your baby, wait for a moment and watch her to see if she makes a sound, gives you a smile or even a look that shows she’s listening. Try to keep your sentences short and see if you can keep up a rally of interaction, even if his part is non-verbal. You are showing your baby that communication is a fun two-way proces
- Take her to places where she can interact with other babies– She maybe the only baby in the house or in the compound. Speaking to adults is not an easy thing for a baby. Organising play dates with a neighbour’s child or cousins will play a key role in helping your baby learn to talk. I especially like taking advantage of church on Sundays. We have a really nice crèche and all babies meet there for play. I have seen them transform and becoming more confident in their language.
- Read them stories- It’s never too early to start reading stories to your baby. It will help her learn a lot.
- Praise her effort– Praise your baby’s efforts to talk. For example, if your baby points to a dog and names it, you could say, ‘Well done for pointing out the dog, Georgie.
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