Babies cry a lot and we often need to guess why. Do they want more milk? Do they need a diaper change? Is it colic? Are they too tired? Are they feeling sick? If only they could tell us! Well of course, they won’t start talking until they’re about 8-10 months old, and even then, their words still won’t be as clear as we want them to be.
In our country, many parents “baby talk” their kids thinking they are not capable of understanding adult conversations yet. I don’t blame them. Even I thought kids could only start saying understandable words by age 3 or 4. But Mia proved me wrong. And now I can tell you that talking to them early is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your baby. Here’s why.
At 12 months: Instead of crying, Mia would say BATEH for bottle of milk every morning. She also started answering YES when asked if she pooped on her diaper.
Oh, about the YES word. Knowing that most babies learn the word NO first, I intentionally taught her how to say YES. It didn’t stop her from saying NO in the long run, but it sure delayed her No-No-No phase and we had an agreeing baby for quite a time. Just a tip!
Okay, going back.
14 months: She would say HELP when she needs help (like climbing up a step or getting a toy out of reach).
15 months: She would say FULL or DONE when she had enough, ITCHY or SCRATCH when she was uncomfortable with an insect bite, and HURTS when her tummy aches.
Isn’t it great when they can get their message through?? You would know exactly how to console them. Less cries. Fewer tantrums. Easier life for Mommy and Daddy! Yay!
Here’s how we did it.
No, not baby talk. No coo coo coos or my ching ching, nam nam noms.
We just go, Hi Mia. Good Morning! Are you hungry? Are you ready for milk? Okay, go make one! Just kidding. When you’re wet or when you have poop, go ask Daddy to change you. All right? Yah that’s the way. Wehehe!
After about a month and a half of one-way conversation, she started responding! No clear words, but she was definitely responding every time we talked to her.
We sang songs to her ever since she was born! I googled the lyrics of the most popular nursery rhymes: Eensy Weensy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Where is Thumbkin, etcetera and sang them to her every time she was awake. Well of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to nursery rhymes. When Moves Like Jagger was on top of the charts, I sang that to her too. She actually liked swaying to it! LOL. Okay, maybe that’s not a very good choice for babies. But she enjoyed the beat and I also deserve a little break from singing kids songs all day don’t you think? 🙂
Anyway, with this constant adult-like talk and singing, she started babbling longer oooooohs and aaaaaaaahs when she reached her 4th month. Not just sentence long but paragraph long! I was really amused and I could just wish she did those during the day and not during the wee hours of the night.
By 10 months, she could already sing some syllables of the Alphabet Phonics Song. When I sang, “A is for apple”, she answered “Ah-Ah-Ah (doing the sound of A). She has also started humming to herself when we don’t rock her to sleep.
Also, having an early talker is just one of the numerous benefits of singing to your babies. Music actually contributes a lot to their over-all development and I’ll be writing several posts on that in the coming weeks. So just like how the Carpenters song goes, don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing! Sing a song. 🙂
When her eyes could already follow through and focus on objects, we started naming things for her even if it seemed that she didn’t understand them yet. We labeled almost everything.
“That is a car.”
And we add more descriptions.
“That car is red. That red car is big.”
Everyday, we would also describe what we were doing, to help her understand how things work around her.
“I am fixing the bed. This is our bed. The bed is where we sleep.”
It’s like having a monologue everyday. Hehehe
At first I thought she wasn’t absorbing things, but this labeling paid off when she reached 16 months. I was half awake one morning, making her milk, when I heard her say, “Mommy is make milk for Mia.” I actually clapped in disbelief. That was her very first sentence.
When she reached 18 months, she started talking in paragraphs! Here are the ones I took note of.
Mia drop all the bottles on the floor. Mommy is sad. Poor Mommy. The mother is sad because Mia throw all the bottles away. The mother is sad.
Mommy is a woman. Auntie is a woman too like Mommy. Daddy is a man. Mia is a baby. A family.
Had I known she’d talk like that, I would have prepared a recorder. I found it hard to believe as well.
We read to her everyday. Even if it seemed that she was just looking at the pictures. You would be surprised on how much they can actually absorb from the books. So don’t get tired of going to book sales to find board books and foam books with simple pictures and words. It builds their vocabulary and taps their imagination. You’ll never regret it.
By reading everyday, you also hit two birds at the same time. Because aside from being an early talker, there is a huge possibility that your kid will be an early reader too. I will share more of that on my next post: Kids Can Read Earlier Than We Think.
5) KEEP TALKING
We just literally spoke to her all the time, as if she was a friend that we kept on chitchatting with. We used easy to pronounce words (reserve your deep vocab skills to people you hate) and we tried to listen and identify the words she was attempting to say, and say it for her.
As a result of this continuous “talking effort”, she can already do a popular tongue twister at age 2. We didn’t expect this too but take a look. 🙂
That was taken 7 months ago. Not that I intentionally want kids to do tongue twisters, but I just really believe that you can have an early talker too and that it is a huge help, especially if you are taking care of 2 or more kids to skip the guessing game and immediately know why they are crying or throwing a fit.
So Talk, Sing, Label, Read, and Keep Talking.
Just also keep in mind that though I encourage early talking, every child develops differently. Children reach milestones at their own pace, at their own time, so let’s not force nor push too hard. We just ENCOURAGE.
I hope you found this post helpful!
If you had an early talker too and you have more tips to share, please do! Leave me a comment below. 🙂