Different babies have different personalities and different timelines, which means you should expect your baby to reach their milestones in their own time. Your first baby beginning to talk before the age of 1 does not necessarily mean your second baby will do so, too. It might be later or it might even be earlier.
In other words, setting a specific timeline for your baby’s milestones will not help. What will help, though, are activities and routines that promote growth and development, which encourage your baby to reach their milestones.
If you want to know how to teach your baby to talk, here are 5 things you can do.
1. Talk to your baby.
There is nothing more important that you can do for your child’s verbal development than talking to them. And no child is too young to engage in a conversation with you. In fact, you can begin talking to your baby while they’re still in the womb! Your baby may not be able to respond to you verbally, but talking to them exposes them to vocabulary and language patterns.
You don’t even have to think about what you need to say to your baby. Point things out to them (this is your hand) and narrate to them what you’re doing (e.g. I am now washing your milk bottle). It’s a good exercise and a great bonding experience, too!
2. Read books.
Reading books should be a consistent part of your bedtime routine for many reasons. Reading results in tremendous benefits, honing attentive listening skills, memory, and imagination. Plus, reading books that are especially made for babies is great for expanding your child’s vocabulary and exposing them to different sounds and linguistic nuances. Add it to your bedtime routine, which will also enrich your baby’s emotional development.
3. Sing songs.
We haven’t met a little child yet who does not love the sound of their momma’s voice — and that includes your singing voice! You don’t have to be able to sing really well or reach high notes in order to sing to your baby. You don’t even have to memorize nursery rhymes (although that helps). Simply singing your favorite song or narrating your day in a sing-song voice will get your baby to pay attention to your sound and your words.
4. Expose them to the world.
Exposing your baby to different words is good, but exposing them to the world so that they can attach these words to their meaning is a lot better. Take your baby on walks and point out objects like houses, cars, and animals while pronouncing their names clearly. Allow your baby to repeat these names. Pay special attention to the objects that they are interested in (such as dogs) and focus on these objects.
5. Be generous with praise.
One more important thing to remember on how to teach your baby to talk is praise. Lots of it! Spoil your child with praises and affection. The sounds they are making right now are less words and more gibberish, but these are verbal efforts that are essential in forming words later on. Praising these efforts will encourage your baby to form these words!
Again, it is not necessary to adhere to a specific timeline or deadline for your baby’s milestones. But there are many ways to encourage — not pressure — them into reaching these milestones. At the end of the day, simply spending a lot of time with your child and coming up with fun but beneficial activities just might be the most important things you can do as a parent.