Some of the milestones of motherhood are your baby's first step, first drooly smile, first cranky cry and first babble words. As for me, I was yearning for my baby to talk and say "Mumma" since the first day I held her in my arms! I wanted her to say the word in her sweet little voice. I was just dying to hear those cute little sounds in her sweet voice!
Usually, kids start making conscious sounds like 'dadada' or 'mamamama' by the age of 6 months. They speak clearly from the age of 1 year and 8 months to 2 years. However, my daughter was a bit eager to speak early. Her first word was 'dada' and I was quite surprised to see that she had managed to say it at the tender age of only 3 months!
I quickly recorded the video and sent it to all family members... they all were equally surprised. By the age of 6 months, my baby girl had already learned to say 'bye bye' and 'hello' in her giggly voice. My husband and I used to jump and dance every time she repeated back to us the word we had been trying to get her to say. She did it over and over again, and our joy knew no bounds!
Seeing the rate at which she was going, it came as no surprise to us that by the time she was one year old, she started verbally communicating with us in her own way. It left family and friends equally surprised and awestruck.
Things We Did That Made Our Daughter Become An Early Talker
I am sharing some of the activities which I feel helped our daughter pick up speaking at a very early age.
1. I Talked With Her From The Very First Day
I used to communicate with my baby girl from the very first day she came into my life – that includes the nine months she was in my belly. I use to talk to her all the time, tell her stories at night. Once she was out in the world, I would make her try and focus on something, and then talk about it to her extensively – I would make her pick a toy and then weave stories around the toy. I believe this helped her learn to point at things early on, and talk with focus.
Watch: Paediatric expert shares important tips and guidelines on teaching your baby to speak!
2. I Involved Her While Shopping At The Supermarket
It must have look weird to many, but I always talked to my baby while picking stuff at the supermarket. And while picking some dress, toy and even diapers I used to ask her which one she would like to have. She would smile when I held out certain things, turn her gaze away when I held others – and the choice was clear to me. We two understood our sign language. :-)
3. My Baby and I Competed In 'Nonsense' Talk :)
There were times I used to be alone with my baby while my husband was at work. These were the times that completely turned me into a chatterbox! I would talk to my girl throughout the day, dance holding her in my arms. We always enjoyed each other's company. This strengthened the bond between us quite a bit. Many a times, I would resort to non-sensical talk ad just make my baby compete with me – we would babble on endlessly! It was so funny.... my daughters giggles were almost unstoppable!
4. I Sang Lullabies To Her
My daughter absolutely loved a good lullaby. I used to sing for her at least once, typically a good lori, just before I put her to bed. Sometimes just a steady humming sound would be good to put her to sleep. Once I remember I was unwell and my 1-year-old came to me and kept her hand on my head and started humming the tune of a lullaby... that's when I realised - all those lullabies I had sung for her had all registered in her mind, and she had loved them all!
5. I Read Books Out Loud To Her
Reading books - especially ones with pictures - is such a beautiful way to spend time with your baby. While I used to read books to her, my daughter would move the book and wish to see the pictures in an amused way. I know young babies may not understand what you are reading to them. But your voice and expressions are something she is closely observing and absorbing. Reading also has the long-term benefit of developing vocabulary and teaching your child new words.
6. I Listened To Everything She Said, Or Tried To Say
“I will listen to everything you say.” - This was the silent promise I made to my baby the day she was born. From her cooing sound of her chatterbox stage, I used to hear every single word she uttered. This assured my baby that I loved her, and that she could confidently tell me anything and everything. I think this habit of mine also made her a good listener and an observant child.
7. Baby and I Babbled To Each Other
Being a copycat was just so much fun! My girl would babble, and I would copy her! This encouraged her to continue babbling even more, until one day she started copying me!
8. We Made Her Learn By Detailing
I loved when my daughter uttered a word. But, at the same time, my husband and I helped her complete her sentences. We used to explain to her how to say a word correctly too, and would applaud when she got it right.
9. I Made Expressions While Talking
Our expressions tell our kids about our emotions – whether we are happy, whether we are displeased...and that is how they learn what is good, what is bad, and what is naughty!
Did You Know?
Babies read our faces and this is how they learn to respond according to situations. But most importantly, our facial expressions also serve to encourage them to do things. The joy they see on your face when you are happy because they called you 'Mumma', makes them call out 'Mumma-Mumma' on a loop!
10. Finally, Never Give Up!
If your baby seems not very willing to talk just yet, don’t give up! Some babies follow every step, and do every little thing. Some babies just start talking at once! The key is to keep 'feeding inputs' to your baby. While my angel said 'dada' at three months of age, I had to wait till she turned nine months old for her to say 'Mumma'! So don't give up!
Things To Remember When Teaching Your Baby To Talk
As you must have realised by now – children absorb everything you say and do. Hence it is very important to bear a few things in mind when you are around your baby, especially with respect to teaching your baby to talk.
• No negative and abusive words should be used while speaking to anyone in front of the baby, and least of all while talking to the baby. Do not forget they pick up what you speak.
• Do not expect too much from the tiny angel. She may not respond to her name, or she may not look at you – that does not mean it is all falling on deaf ears! Let her take her own time.
• Do not compare your child with other children. Every child has many different factors which affect their way of learning.
• Always maintain your calm. Do not lose hope, and do not lose your mind! Patience is the name of the game.
• When you are actively trying to teach your baby to talk, keep distractions at bay. Babies generally get distracted with sound, music, toys, etc.
• Less screen time. We have commonly seen that most of us leave the baby in front of a screen – laptop, TV, mobile, etc. – with rhymes playing on it. But this doesn't help her in experimenting with the new words.
Read This Next!
I am sure your baby will learn to communicate with the world soon too. In the meantime, keep talking!
Images Via Shutterstock