How to raise a communicative baby
Learn how to raise a communicative baby by putting these tips into practice.
Most parents would be thrilled with the idea of children who are able to express their needs at a very young age as this would mean less guesswork in figuring out what they want. It would also mean less frustration for everyone in the long run.
So the question begs to be asked: How do you raise a communicative baby? How do we help our babies develop their communication skills even at a young age?
Start them young
Some say communication begins in the womb. If you had “conversations” with your unborn child, it would take less time for him to get accustomed to your voice once he is born.
Instead, he would refocus his energy towards trying to understand what you are saying. This means that his progress would be slightly faster than the infant who had not been exposed often to his parents’ voices.
I recall fondly the times when my unborn son would move vigorously within me during the times when I would be trying to get some sleep.
We would often read a short story to him, and then his father would stroke my swollen belly and coax him to lay still and allow me to sleep. He would always quieten down after that.
Show them how you feel
Studies have shown that “visual language” – i.e. our facial expressions, the way our mouths move and body language – is a very important factor for babies to pick up speech and language.
Although most babies would not be able to speak until they are about 18 months old, they would certainly be able to use their facial expressions to express how they feel. To assist them in being strong in “visual language” before they can speak, you can illustrate what you say with appropriate visual cues.
For example, nod your head when you say “yes.” When you say “no,” shake your head. Babies will slowly learn to associate these simple head movements with the corresponding words – and the meaning behind them.
Use communication aids
If the idea sounds appealing to you, you may even choose to teach your baby to sign. Baby signing materials such as books, flash cards and videos are readily available in bookstores and can help your child communicate their basic needs to you via hand signs.
It is important to note, however, that not all babies respond well to picking up baby sign language. Some are simply not interested, while others are keen on learning and start to use the signs fairly quickly.
Other babies will somewhat restrict themselves to learning and using only a few signs that they find “useful,” such as the signs for “milk,” “eat” and “hug”. Nonetheless, having a signing baby means less frustration for everyone as he/she can easily tell you when he/she wants something in particular!
Be encouraging and consistent
To help your baby communicate early, you should allow him/her to “speak” from a young age. Creating opportunities for our little ones to respond to us will motivate them to pick up communication skills sooner.
For example, asking simple questions that require yes and no answers would prompt them to master nodding and shaking their heads.
You should also be consistent when talking to your baby so as not to confuse him/her.
Until they can fully understand language and its subtleties, it is best not to tease them or use oxymorons. It would confuse them greatly as to whether something is actually “nice” if you use the term in a sarcastic manner.
Remaining consistent with what you say and how you say it will help your child hone his/her communication skills in the long run. Also, take note that repetition is key when learning any new skill, including language.
If your best efforts to raise a communicative baby have not paid off yet, do not worry. Your child will put into practice all that you have taught him/her once he/she is ready.
Also, remember that if you are speaking at least 2 languages to your child, it would take them a little bit longer to catch up on everything due to a slight “information overload.”
Meanwhile, don’t stop talking to your little one as the more you speak to your child, the more they will learn from you. So keep on talking!
Do you have any tips on how to raise a communicative baby? Share them with us by leaving a comment!