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One of the most important times for children is around the age of 12-18 months, when they are supposed to start talking. Sure they produce sounds, be it babbles or words, from the moment they are born, but it is during this time that parents feel the extreme pressure and anxiety about having the child start speaking intelligibly. And if there is a delay, you can be rest assured that parents are panicking.
It is up to the child to start talking, but as a parent, you can help out quite a bit by guiding them, and encouraging them, and helping them out at every step. The following are some of the things you can do to guide your baby’s speech pattern.
Of course it comes as no surprise that talking to, and around your baby is the most important element of your baby’s speech. The more you talk, the more the child listens and takes in words.
Yes, even for babies, it is important to listen. Don’t always expect a decipherable response, or any response at all. But whatever sounds or expressions they make, how they behave is a way of talking; because, speech is not the only way of expressing yourself.
All parents interact with the baby, sure. But it is important that you keep up the interaction, and not go back to minding your own business just because they are making a progress. In fact, as babies approach the ‘talking age’, the level of interaction and the time spent in it should go up.
The more you repeat a word, or a phrase, the more easily your child picks up the word, its meaning, and the contexts it can be used in.
As you listen and interact, make sure you’re not impatient. Wait a bit for your child to respond, and if you see that it’s not happening, try to prompt or coax a response or reaction out of them. If your child remains silent speechwise, look out for other kinds of expressions.
The more words you use around a child, the more their vocabulary grows. Children can pick up language and words very easily; they may take some time to express them in proper order, but they understand way before they start speaking.
I’ll highly stress the point that babies start understanding and picking up things much before they start actually speaking. So you can start teaching them in fun ways, by reading them storybooks and picture books right from when they are born.
Always demonstrate and identify objects and actions; this will help you baby learn faster.For example when you’re feeding your baby Cereals, or tying up the Bib, you can point to the object every now and then when you say the word.
A little fun goes a long way. Sing and dance, basically make sure you and your child are enjoying yourselves while interacting.
An encouraging environment at home always helps with the learning process. When you try your best, you’ll find the same effort being reflected by your child.
Don’t be daunted if your child doesn’t start speaking at the conventional age. They have their ownpace; and silence doesn’t mean they’re not taking in anything. But do see a paediatrician if the baby doesn’t speak even after turning 2 years old.
It is important to understand that right from the moment babies are conceived, even when they are still in the womb, their brain is continuously working to pick up and make sense of new things. They are always learning, and speaking is just one way of expressing and putting into order what they already know. What is required from the parents’ end is constantly creating opportunities and situations for the baby to learn. It is as basic as bathing them or changing their diapers.
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