Most parents are eager for the child to start talking, until they won’t stop and then a minutes silence feels like a true blessing! Ultimately children will start talking when they feel like it. For some this may be earlier rather than later or vice versa. As with everything children nothing is set in stone.

Having said that though, there are ways in which as a parent you can encourage your child to be in the earlier rather than later category. It is well known that children learn by example and their brains are sponges waiting to absorb. Therefore it only makes sense that the more you talk to your children the more likely they are to talk back to you.

The best thing about talking to your children is they are not so interested in what you actually say but how it is said. When talking to your child true to follow these simple guidelines.

1. Skip the baby talk. There is no need to shorten or change the words that you use. Talk to your baby as if you were talking to anyone else. Don’t insult their intelligence by modifying your language. Who ever invented baby talk is a criminal. Talk to your child in the way that you want them to talk to you. Remember babies are imitators.

2. Talk clearly and pronounce words properly.

3. Use a light and cheery tone.

So now that you know how to talk to your baby, what are you going to talk about? Obviously in the early stages of life it is going to be a one sided conversation, however with time this will change. In the meantime you get to select the topics for discussion. Lucky for you baby is more interested in the sound of your voice than words so talk about what ever takes your fancy!

Even from an early age (like birth) children can not be given too much information about their surroundings. Tell your baby everything about their surrounding environment. The lounge room might not seem very interesting to you but in the eyes of your baby it is new and exciting.

Begin this running commentary from the moment they are born. Where ever you go whatever you do, verbally express the actions and what is happening to your baby. Here is an example

“Are you thirsty? I’m thirsty, let’s go to the kitchen and make a coffee, here is the kitchen let’s turn the kettle on, two sugars today, one two…” I’m sure you get the picture.

They will appreciate the information and the sound of your voice will be a comfort to them. Plus you are actively encouraging them to talk.

As your child grows they will begin to respond to your voice and begin making noises which will eventually turn into words. Make sure that as this starts happening you allow your child the opportunity to share their view with you.

Listening to your baby is as important as talking to them.

As your baby develops you will be able to recognize sounds as representations of words. When this occurs, repeat what you believe them to be saying. This confirms to the child that you understand and that they are on the right path.

You will be amazed at the response. Generally if you have it right they child will nod, if wrong they will repeat the sentence/word/sound or shake their head.

Please be aware though this can be a very frustrating process at times. Your toddler will not always know exactly what they mean or want and it may take many attempts to get it right. However will a little patience and time you will both get there.

But wait there is more.

Aside from a constant running commentary of daily life there are other steps you can take to encourage your toddler to start talking

  1. Ask your toddler questions. would you like milk or water? Would you like to go for a walk? Can you show me where the shoes go? All of this will help the child gain a greater understanding of language, words, their uses and meanings.

  2. Read a wide variety of material to your baby. Picture books, story books, even magazines your baby will love it all. Anything that has bright pictures and is colorful will be a hit.

  3. Sing songs and play games

  4. Limit TV time. While you may think that the constant conversation that the dreaded box provides will encourage your toddler to talk, it doesn’t. It is mind numbing and not really interactive, it talks at not to you child.

  5. Put aside 30 minutes everyday to practice talking with your child. Go to a quite room, free of distractions and spend the time talking, singing and looking at flash cards.

Above all else provide your child with a warm loving and supportive environment and before long they will be a regular little chatter box.

Source: American Chronicle, CA