Teaching a child to talk is one of the most pressing things that parents would like to do. That is because if your child does not yet speak words at 2 years old, people assume that there is something wrong with our children.
But that is not normally the case because each child is different and therefore, have different paces of learning. He or she may be gifted in other areas other than just the languages and in communication. We cannot really pressure our kids into talking, especially if they are not really the talkative type.
Just to reassure you and to help you, however, I have compiled some tips in teaching a child to talk. I did this on our daughter Dindin and it seems that she started talking really early. At 3 months, she already calls me Mama. At four months, she was already able to say, “Dede” and “Law-ay” (tastes awful). At five months, she already called Dennis, “Papa” to my husband’s delight. And last Sunday, at 2 years and 7 months, an American missionary that we met at a wake told Dindin, “You sound like you just came from California.” hahaha The of them were talking and Dindin was admiring her skirt and she must have thought Dindin was awesome. LOL
Anyway, your child may not talk at this pace but I really hope that this may help you just the same. I call these tips, although I did not really think about these at all when Dindin was younger. I just did these things and it is only now that I thought that they contributed to her speech development.
Days to a Few Months old
1. Tell your child what you are doing. For example, “Baby, it’s time to take a bath” or “Mama will make your milk.”
2. During bonding moments, face your child and make sounds, most especially “Mama” or “Mommy” because it is usually the easiest to say.
3. While carrying your child or lulling her to sleep, talk, sing, or pray for her aloud. It does not have to be in a loud voice but that will get her ears to hear words.
4. Point out things to her, especially colorful items and tell them what they are. It is so easy to assume that kids know something just because it is so common. At this stage, just presume that they do not know anything so teach them everything. Their brains are like sponges and that will teach them a lot.
5. As soon as she is strong enough to sit with support, open a book in front of her. Point to things and describe them. I did this to Dindin at 4 months.
6. Connect sensations with appropriate descriptions. Let your child feel smooth glass and say “Smooth”.
When Your Child Starts to Walk
7. Let her feel rough cement and say “Rough.” And don’t be afraid to take off her socks or shoes and let her go barefoot. If you want, clean the floor and surround it with a “fence” so that she can only roam around the area. You may want her to step on rough cement floor or a wet area and then describe them. That would heighten the stimulus for learning. Just keep them supervised though.
8. Go outside the house, like the mall, the park, or other safe places. Upon leaving or dressing, tell your child where you will go and what to expect. Even if you sound crazy because you are like talking to yourself, that’s okay. That’s all part of the exposure to language. And while at the place, point out things to your child.
9. At 7 months, start introducing videos. Why 7 months? I just read somewhere that introducing videos too early to a child may cause some psychological problems. So as not to risk it, we started on the videos until she was around 7 months old. But no TV, just her educational videos. Your child may accept one video today and not the other. If she does not like one video, try it again next week or the following month. And if you can help it, limit video viewing to about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon especially if she is still very young. You can increase the length of time gradually, but no more than 1 hour at 1 time.
10. And keep on reading books to your child. You can read for her or you can read together. In our case, Dindin would like us to read together.
While these things may sound like a lot, I hope you are not too overwhelmed. I did not talk to Dindin 24 hours a day because for one, I am also not a talkative person. But I dunno, when I had Dindin, I just found a companion in the house where normally I am alone and well, I just converse with her like a friend just came over to visit. Make it natural so that there will be no pressure on you or your child as you teach your child to talk.