chatter box

Audrey is approaching 17-months-old and formerly had a vocabulary of a few words, animal sounds and lots of grunting. Chris and I have been proactive in trying to help her learn words and reading to her constantly (thankfully, this is her choice of playtime too). 

Audrey's comprehension has been pretty sharp for a number of months. I believe this strongly has to do with us always talking to Audrey. I'm the crazy lady in the grocery store in constant conversation with my baby. I like it- I always get the floor to talk. 
Well, now things might be changing.

Two days ago, it was like a light switch turned on. She began saying almost every word I asked her to say. This includes brand-new words like "Minnie" and "berry" as well as words we have been working on for a while such as "please" and "cup." I have thought a lot about why, in one day, she felt like she could now talk. Where did the confidence come from? 

Yesterday, Audrey came up to me and said, "Pooh, now." I said, "Let's take a nap." Then she said, "No." 

I couldn't believe it. I just had a conversation with my baby! Even though it wasn't the best of conversations as it was a shining light into the future of her serious diva-tude- it was in deed a conversation. 

She did this with walking, too. She tried a few steps, then decided she wasn't ready, and it took a serious confidence adjustment. One day, she just started walking everywhere. 

I have seen the interest in learning grow dramatically as she points at things and wants to know what they are, stares at my mouth to watch me pronounce a word and will stay on a certain page in her book until she has tried saying the object/word. 

Seeing this, it is really on now for me as a parent. So, I've done some research on ways that we parents can assist in the healthy vocabulary growth and confidence of our children: 

1. No baby talk. Keep in mind, that although it is so cute when my husband always talks to Audrey in a high pitched, lovey voice, she will repeat it that way. Moreover, use real words - no baby words or slang. 

2. Keep sentences to a minimum. Wow, could God make it any more clearer that I just need to stop talking =) Minimizing our words also helps our babies learn. Instead of, "Are you hungry?" "Would you like some toast?" just simply ask, "Toast?" Too many words can overstimulate them. 

3. Correcting them and intervening in their attempt to say something can damage their self-esteem and therefore hold back a future attempt to try saying something. 

4. Have patience. Play the "What's This?" game and give her plenty of time to respond. If she looks at you not knowing, say the word slowly and have her look at your mouth.

5. Pick a word-of-the-day or week and consistently work on it. 

If something worked well for you, please let me know about it.


Natasha Johnson said...

I did sign language with my girls starting at about 8 months. By 13 months they were seriously exchanging the signs for words, and by 18 months all signs were gone. I know this has backfired on some people: kids get stuck on the sign language, but it worked for us. Really emphasizing the words with the signs was important and sometimes the words without the signs. Just an idea for people looking for ways of communicating with their little ones :)

Keeli said...

These are great tools for vocabulary! Phoebe is not quite there yet, but I will be trying these tips when she is.

Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} said...

i'm terrified i'm going to teach our babies all the wrong words! eek. not using baby talk is a big thing...i need to remember that :)

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