One milestone that most parents can’t wait for their child to achieve is talking. When your child learns to talk, it will enable you to communicate more effectively with them, provide them with exactly what they want without becoming frustrated, and help to build their knowledge.
Even though your child will ultimately start talking whenever he or she is ready, there are certain things you can do to encourage your child to talk. The following are five great tips to help you teach your child how to talk.
Your baby enjoys listening to your voice, and a great way to help you get them interested in talking is to read to them. Even if your child is a small baby that cannot understand you, reading to them will help them start to learn new words and recognize shapes and objects that correlate with these words. This will also interest them in trying to mimic the noises that you’re saying.
2. Sing to your baby.
Aside from reading, another great way to encourage your child to talk is to sing to them. Your child will be very interested in not only hearing your voice, but also hearing the different tones and inflections that occur in your voice while you sing. And because your baby doesn’t entirely understand what you’re saying, you don’t have to stick to singing baby songs or nursery rhymes—you can turn on the radio and sing the songs you love.
3. Talk to your baby.
Some parents think that since their child cannot talk back there’s no point in talking to them, but this is a big no-no. Talking to your child is the absolute best thing you can do to try and teach your baby how to talk. Talk to them about anything, such as what you’re currently doing or even what’s going on in the world. Describe things to your child as you drive or walk past them, and always point to objects and tell them what they’re called. The more you talk to your baby, the more they will try to mimic what you’re doing.
4. Talk back to your child.
When your baby gets around four to eight months old, they will start to babble, which is their own form of communication. When your baby babbles, it’s important that you talk back to them, even though neither of you know exactly what you’re saying. Talking back to your baby when they babble teaches them how to communicate back and forth with someone else, and it also encourages them to keep speaking. Eventually, this babble will turn into real sounds and real words, which will help them develop their language skills.
5. Don’t give up.
Although most children will say their first word between six and nine months of age, don’t become frustrated if your child has yet to talk. Every child will ultimately decide when they want to say their very first word, but by using these tips, you will help them become more comfortable with language and encourage them to be interested in talking.
Abigail Houston is a fluent ASL interpreter and avid writer. She recommends using a baby sign language book when teaching babies how to sign.