Your baby learns to talk from you
Learning to talk is not a simple development for your baby, and that’s putting it mildly. Your baby learns to talk from you.
Dos and don’ts when it comes to your baby’s language development:
- Do talk, talk, and talk some more…
- As much as you can, name whatever your baby is looking at or what baby is doing. “Isn’t that a lovely dog? That dog is called Nina. Gently pet the dog.”
- Read lots and lots of books together. Books are ideal for pointing to things and then naming what you see and the sounds things make. Reading books is not only fun it is excellent for language development.
- Your baby may be clever when taking baby talk, but you are not! Talk to your baby as a grown up and not as a baby. How can you teach your baby to talk if you speak like a baby?
- Pay attention to your words. Your baby understands more than you realize. So watch what you say around your baby.
- Pay attention to your voice. It’s actually quite simple: if you want your child to do something quietly, then you must relay that sense of quiet in your voice. When you are happy, your voice must convey that too. If you are ‘angry’ and you want to tell your baby something is not allowed then you will not make an impression on them if you say it with a smile. Make sure your voice reflects what you want to communicate.
- Talk with your face. Use your face to convey what you want to say with words!
- Vary your tone and the way you use your voice. Do not use a boring, monotonous tone, but turn your voice in to a melody with various notes, tones, variations, and speeds.
Speech and language tips:
- Mothers mostly talk to their first child in a singing and rhythmic voice. That is because the first child has a major effect on hormones.
- Breastfed babies babble earlier than bottle-fed babies. This is because breastfed babies’ mouths have to work harder to get the milk. The muscles in the mouth are thus stimulated more than in bottle-fed babies.
- Did you know that emotions are expressed in the same way in the various languages? A Dutch baby can be told in Spanish that something is forbidden.
- Children who are growing up in an environment where people speak in a wide variety of ways, such as being read to, discussions at the table and telling stories, have a better start at school later on.
- Initially, identical twins are better at understanding more of the same words than non-identical twins are. Genetics and predisposition thus also play a role in learning to talk.
- Children who have an older brother or sister often start speaking later than those who don’t.
- This is because parents with several children are generally busier. And the level of language the baby hears from the mother is aimed at the oldest child in the family.
- Between 18 and 24 months, babies learn over 200 new words.