4 Fun Ways to Get Baby to Talk
How to teach your baby to learn and love language and conversation
For months, in my family, silence was an enemy. No matter how hard my wife and I tried, no matter how much we read to and blabbed at our baby daughter, the kid wouldn’t speak a lick. Sure, she smiled and giggled when we acted goofily. And yes, she grabbed her stuffed walrus when we asked her to. Brain cells were clearly functioning correctly. But for months there simply were no words.
Maybe we were a bit neurotic. Around the baby’s 10-month mark, we were vexed; by 12 months, we became concerned. We were about to contact our pediatrician when the baby let out a loud “Mama.” She hasn’t stopped talking since. All that worrying! All those nights hunched over books about what to expect! Our Type-A panic was all for naught.
The truth is that helping our babies acquire language skills may be easier and more natural than we think, so say many speech pathologists and child psychologists. It turns out, those of us who have called this process “learning to talk” have had it all wrong; the art of communication is much broader than our babies acquiring new words and regurgitating them upon command. It requires a positive environment that fosters trust and celebrates success. It requires repetition. Most important, at least to Larry Gray M.D., assistant professor of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medical Center, it requires fun.
“No matter what kind of expert you ask, the current thinking is this: Present parents who interact with their babies help create kids who’ll succeed,” says Dr. Gray. In other words, as long as you talk to your kids and keep them interested, you can’t go wrong. Here are four steps to help you be a present parent who rocks: