Teaching children to speak: How to teach your child to talk
Teaching children to speak
Teaching children to speak is one of the main responsibilities of the parents. Babies spend almost all of their time with their mothers and fathers and they are the main source of learning and the most important persons to communicate with.
Children start to respond and communicate with the world since the first month were they can show response to light and loud sounds in the form of startling and moving. During the second and third months of the baby's life he starts to make voices and smiles. Cooing and laughing continue as his way to respond to attempts of communication until around 6-8 months of age.
By this time, he may be able to say very simple syllables such as "dada" and "mama". Gradually the baby starts to understand words, signs and meanings and simple orders. By the end of the first year, his dictionary is formed of 5-6 words and so on, until the third year when he can form simple sentences and can understand other better and starts asking and talking with people. Parents are the first teachers of their child and they can help him in his linguistic, social and mental development. Here are a few tips:
- Enjoy the process of teaching your child how to speak and always communicate with him from the beginning and help him enjoy it, too. Not only by talking and making sounds, but also by touching, hugging, playing with him and be sure to make eye contact with him.
- Talk to him about the things in his environment and the surroundings. Make sure you talk quietly and clearly and that letters are clear, don't speak too fast or use complex words. Use very simple words and repeat them nicely.
- Provide him with toys, puzzles, books with images that are appropriate for his age. Help him discover his toys, games and his body parts and tell them their names. You should also talk to him in normal adults language and not "babies/monkeys language" all the time.
- Reply to his cooing and voices, this helps him to communicate better with you. If he is trying to tell you something, try to understand him, this encourages him more to keep trying and talking. If he make mistakes pronouncing the words help him correct it by repeating these words in the right way so that he can imitate you.
- Your conversations with your child should vary between questions, statements and comments.
- Read to him daily. Stories contain ideas and meanings that he can understand and help his emotional, mental and linguistic development.
- Both of you should do the talking, listen to him when he talk and respond, then let him reply and so on. Help him find his favourite toys and express his opinions and feelings about them and about the surroundings.
- When he asks a question make sure that you answer him in a simple and honest way.
Don't forget that each child is unique. I hope the above tips has given you an idea about how to teach children to talk but keep in mind that the milestones can be different according to each kid. A pediatrician can help you to know if the delay in your baby's speech abilities is normal (within the normal range) or not.