By Heather Moss, Speech Therapist
“What did you say? A common question we ask our babies and toddlers. Very often (if not always) babies develop their own language made up of babbles, coos and eventually words which may be difficult to understand. We want to encourage this and all forms of communication… always! That is, we always want to encourage communication, even if it is not perfect!
What I mean by this is if your child is ‘talking’ and trying to communicate something to you… make sure that you listen and try to communicate back. If your child can’t say the words ‘more peas’, for example, but you know they clearly want you to keep feeding them… a way to encourage them is by modeling what they really mean. ‘Oh you mean… more peas.’ This way, they hear the correct pronunciation and can try saying it again! You can even repeat what they say and then give them the model. You said ‘ma’ oh you want ‘more pees.’
We always want to provide positive reinforcement as it is important to encourage them to keep trying and to communicate their wants and needs. You can say things like ‘good talking’ or ‘let’s say it together.’ Specific feedback is also important so they know to keep trying to communicate with their words. If you are really having difficulty understanding your child, baby sign language is also another tool to use in order to try to encourage or help facilitate communication with your little one until they get more words/sounds. Remember, all forms of communication are great!”
Article Source: The Power of Talking to Your Baby – NYTimes.com