A baby’s first words are an important and much awaited milestone for every parent. The early stages of learning to speak are exciting for baby and magical for parents. Here are some quick and easy activities that can encourage your baby’s first words.
Children are very motivated to make animal sounds and often replicate these sounds shortly before speech begins. Encourage your child to moo, baa and neigh through songs and play.
Mummy and Daddy
Look through old pictures, pointing out Mummy and Daddy. Babies tend to love looking at pictures, particularly of the people closest to them, and will quickly begin to point out Mummy and Daddy themselves.
Posting Box Game
Cut a hole into an ice cream tub or a cardboard box in order to create a post box. Post picture cards or toy food through the hole and say ‘gone’ as you post it.
Ready, Steady, Go!
Ready, Steady, go games are a fantastic way to encourage communication. Use a wind up toy, saying ‘ready, steady……’ and wait for your child to make a vocalisation for ‘Go’.
More tends to be an early word for many children. Find a toy or short activity that your child is very motivated in, such as bubbles, tickles or even eating a favourite food. Pause during the activity and wait for your toddler to communicate that they want more. Reward any attempt at communicating with more bubbles/food/tickles, clearly modelling the word ‘more’ before continuing the activity.
Babies tend to love knocking down towers of blocks. Build up many blocks and shout Crash! As you knock them down. Your baby will soon love joining in with this activity.
One of the best methods for your child to learn of new ways is through reading books. Read storybooks to your child along with pointing to images and naming them. Soon your child will be repeating those words after you.
These quick and simple games help promote speech development and can encourage first words. Remember to always keep it simple, start with animal sounds and short words first, instead of long words with many syllables. Do not hesitate to use “baby talk” as babies find it easier to replicate horsie and doggie complicated adult words. Also remember to repeat, repeat, repeat! Children need to hear a word many times, in a number of different contexts, before attempting to use it themselves.