Babies learn to communicate well without words before they learn to actually talk. When it comes to talking, all children follow a particular pattern.
They start by babbling
Most babies babble in just the same way. Their “da-da-da, ta-ta” sounds the same. It’s only when they learn to speak words, that their languages become different.
As your baby starts babbling you can keep having conversations without words. From now on, you’ll really need to make space for him/her to babble back to you. You might find that he/she has a lot to say – so always give him/her time to respond.
Speaking baby talk
Most mums and dads find that the way they speak to their baby will be quite different from the way they speak normally to other adults, or older children. This is fine.
Some people speak to their babies like they are talking to adults. Your baby will love to hear you speak any way but sounding like a baby naturally engages your baby. Either way is fine. The main thing is to communicate as much as possible and give him/her time to answer. Remember that it’s easier for them to learn simple words first.
Reading to your baby
Read, read, read! Babies love being read to and it’s so lovely to sit with a big, thick-paged book your baby can touch, bite, kiss and help turn the pages. Starting early will help them develop a life-long love of reading.
When you repeat words from a favourite story over and over again, your baby will also start to learn those words by heart and develop his/her vocabulary.
Starting to actually talk
Around your baby’s first birthday, your baby may start to articulate the words she already knows in her mind. The first will almost certainly be some form of ‘Ma-ma’ and ‘Da-da’, and then probably something to do with water or food!
Once your baby can say so many individual words, he/she will start to put simple sentences together. This normally happens around the age of two.
Developing your baby’s vocabulary
You can help your baby develop their vocabulary by talking to them a lot, and trying to use simple words over and over again.
-Start with simply pointing things out.
-Try not to have too much background noise – so switch off the TV when you’re having a good chat.
-If he/she says a word and gets it wrong, don’t correct him/her. Just say it again as part of your answer and use it correctly.
Use short and simple sentences.
Will dummies/pacifiers prevent my baby learning to talk?
Restrict the use of the dummy/pacifier – If your baby has something in their mouth, they won’t be talking!