Children learn very early in their lives how to communicate their needs to mom and dad. Babies cry to get their parent’s attention and voice their desires. Babies even have different cries for different needs like "hold me", "I'm hungry", and "I’m tired". As babies grow their communication also grows. Eventually they start to point to things and maybe use grunts instead of crying. And then those grunts will turn into baby words like "baba" for bottle, "mama" for mommy and so on.
If your child seems content using baby words you might become worried, and wonder how you can encourage your child to talk like a big kid. Below are simple parenting tips you can encourage your child to broaden their vocabulary.
9 parenting tips to get your child to talk like a big kid.
Children develop at different times. Be there to encourage this development but try not to push it. Try not to compare your child to other children, but focus rather on just continally improving.
1. Start introducing vocabulary at birth through sign language.
Don't worry; you don't have to learn the entire alphabet. Words like "milk", "nap", "food", "bottle", "all done", "mommy" and "daddy" are enough. As your child gets older you can introduce more sign language.
2. Use big words when talking to your child.
Even if your child doesn't understand what the word means she is still getting exposure to the different sounds and mouth movements that make up words.
3. Try not to use baby words when talking to your child.
If your child says certain words in a cute, baby way fight the urge to repeat it back to them the way they say it. So if your child says "nana" for banana say "banana" back to them. Calling a banana "nana" makes a child think that "nana" is the correct word.
4. Let your child watch your mouth move as you say words.
Speak slowly and clearly. Talking is as much about how our mouths move around the words as it is about the sounds our vocal chords make. Seeing your mouth move will help your child work their mouths in the right way to make the desired sound.
5. Pay attention to your child's learning zone.
Sometimes kids just aren't in the mood to learn. Pushing them to learn certain words or recite words for friends and family when they aren't in the mood could result in them resenting learning.
6. Make sure to have quality conversations with other adults in front of your child.
They will pick up on things like cadence, tone, body language, vocabulary and other nuances of speech.
7. Read to your child.
Regularly read to your child, and not just from children's books. Read from the newspaper, young adult books, books for adults, magazines etc.
8. Use picture books so your child can associate words with pictures.
Then while you are going about your day you can reinforce those words by pointing to the real thing and either saying what it is or asking your child if they can name it.
9. Use a reward chart.
Positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement, using a mobile reward chart app the perfect tool for tracking your child's progress and reminding yourself to acknowledge the effort your child is putting forth.
Above all, don't stress.
And never show your anger or frustration when teaching your child new things. Once your child begins to start talking like a big kid, you may want to stress the importance of talking nicely and being a good listener.