Communicating with your baby from birth encourages their vocabulary and language development. I remember reading that fact from the National Literacy Trust’s website just after Addison was born and making the decision that there would be none of the “baby talk” I had heard from other mums whilst out and about.
My husband and I would talk to her about our day, what we were doing with her. If we were doing every day things like giving her a wash, changing her, moving things in her room we would tell her why we were doing this. We believed that in doing so not only would she learn our voice and begin to distinguish key figures in her life she would also store the beginnings of what will become an enormous vocabulary of words.
We asked our parents to do the same around Addison, to hold conversations with her (even though she couldn’t answer back with speech) because in her own way she was communicating with us through smiles, gurgles and shrieks. Every night we would read to Addison – little board books with simple sentences and her favourites were as a baby and still are now the “That’s not my…” series.
Her first words came at just over a year old and there’s been no holding her back. She gabbles away now at three year’s old endlessly throughout the day. She can recite entire song verses and I am gobsmacked that she knows all the words to the traditional version of Jingle Bells.
Every day when I pick her up from school we have a ten minute chat in the car. I ask who she has been playing with today, which girls and which boys. What has she learnt at school today – numbers or letters? What did she have for lunch? Did she have a pudding? All of these and more she can answer confidently every time.
She has lots of funny sayings that she has picked up from us including “you’re welcome mummy”, “it’s so beautiful”, “precisely” and best of all “you’re so very proud.”
I don’t like to do comparisons of children – I think it’s unfair and is an adult version of playground teasing, almost like “my child’s better than yours”; however, I have compared Addison to peers of her age and her cousin who is a year older.
Addison’s range of vocabulary is amazing, her pronounciation of most words is really clear. Where she can’t quite say something we work with her and break the word down into chunks so she can bulid the word up. She talks more than most toddlers I know of her age and when we go out people assume she is about 5 years old in the way she trots round the supermarket going “I’ll help you NanMar – I can carry the shopping basket it’s not heavy.”
The Words for Life website has some brilliant tips for communication with your toddler and baby. If you are fed up of cooing and ahhing endlessly at your little one or want to have a proper conversation but don’t know how to start or where to start in introducing words together then this site has a fantastic set of FREE resources.
I would be intrigued to know from other mums out there about how you communicated with your babies when they were young; did you automatically go into a world of nonsensical talk or like me did you communicate with your baby in the same way you would your partner or family? Has it made a difference to how your child communicates with you now?
So far other mum’s on twitter have joined in with this:-
@debjmeredith tweeted “I’ve never used baby talk. Really winds me up. My 6 yo has a much wider vocab than my niece (7yo) as a result”
@stressymummy tweeted “no I never have, not really me and my kids all had great language skills from an early age.”