How to help baby learn to talk
Mothers are often concerned about whether or not their baby’s speech is developing normally. The problem is that some babies just don’t want to start talking!
At more or less 21 months of age, babies say several simple words and their vocabulary expands rapidly. By the age of 2 your baby will know more or less 300 words and string together a few words in short phrases of two to four words.
Generally, by the age of two your baby should know from 80 to 500 words. Some children at that age however may know less than 80 words. These children are known as “auditory talkers”. How can parents help their baby learn to talk in this case, without the help of a speech therapist?
Firstly, you will need to arm yourself with a great deal of patience; you should talk to your baby often in a clear and simple manner, pronouncing each word carefully. Children must first learn to listen carefully, even to the things we say every day: the more your baby listens, the most he or she will learn.
A very useful trick is the “double question”: ask your baby to choose between two things “Do you want to play with the ball or with your teddy bear?". In this way you are encouraging baby to tell you want he wants.
Pictures are also very useful in helping babies to learn how to talk, because baby will learn how to recognise objects and associate mental concepts to those objects. A very useful game to develop intellectual and language skills is to draw a picture, give a name to the drawing and then make up sentences to describe the drawing.
Reading is also very important. Remember to read stories to your children often, and as you read show baby the pictures in the story book, helping him to say and learn new words.
With a little patience, your baby will make excellent progress!