It’s a parent’s joy to hear their baby’s first word. As a parent, you can encourage your baby to start talking and begin language acquisition earlier. Being a teacher, I will share some activities parents can use to encourage their baby to utter the first word.
How can you encourage a baby to talk? Encouraging a baby to talk requires a ton of effort and patience. Parent-child interaction is essential during language acquisition stage. Parents must have creative activities that will encourage their babies to have the first attempts in saying their first words. These interaction activities can make children develop speech and self-expression.
Long before babies learn how to talk, they are communicating with their parents or caregivers through nonverbal cues. However, as they grow each month, encouraging the child to talk can be one of the challenges of parents. Now, there have been various ways on how to encourage your child to start talking. In this article, you’ll find creative activities that can help you encourage your little one to say the most awaited first word.
Creative Activities To Encourage Your Baby To Talk
In encouraging babies to talk, parents must provide creative activities that will help them in saying their first few words. These activities greatly enhance speech development and optimize learning among children. Here are the creative activities that you can use to encourage your baby to talk as early as the sixth month.
Here are the 9 creative activities:
- Playing Peek-a-boo
- Listen, Wait, and Respond
- Sing a song!
- Pointing at objects and pictures
- Bubbles Activity
- Books, books, books
- “Ready, set… go” games
- Container play
- Clapping of Hands
1. Playing Peek-a-boo
Playing Peek-a-Boo is an all-time classic because babies love it a lot. In playing this game, simply cover your face using your hands as if you are disappearing. While your face is covered, start saying ‘peek-a’ and as you open your hands, say ‘booo’. Babies find this really funny, and they love to repeat it over and over again. So, for you to encourage your baby to talk, show how this game is done, and you expect your child to respond.
2. Listen, Wait, and Respond
This is also a good game for babies. First, make sure your baby is lying down. Then, move closer to him and make eye contact. Talk to your baby and wait for at least 10 seconds. Afterward, look at your baby with anticipation and then smile. Keep the chat going for as long as possible and with as many communicative exchanges as possible. Taking turns is an art of good communication skills, especially among babies. When your baby realizes that there is a need to talk to take a turn, eventually, you will hear many word attempts from your precious one.
3. Sing a song!
Children love music. So, one way to encourage and help babies talk is by singing familiar songs or nursery rhymes to them. Also, putting some hand gestures and actions into songs can stimulate their interest. However, you must remember to sing songs in a slow manner to encourage participation, and it’s better to establish eye contact with your child. Leaving a gap within the song will also encourage him to join in.
In singing songs, you may repeat words or stress them out. In most cases, your child may start by filling in the last word of a song lyric because this is where we naturally stress the word. With repetition, your baby will eventually fill in more and more words until he is singing the whole song for you. Remember to always praise the efforts of your little one when he joins you in singing.
4. Pointing at objects and pictures
This may be a simple gesture, but an important practice when it comes to speech acquisition. Grab this opportunity when your baby loves to point at different things. When your child’s finger points onto something, say the name of that object. To stimulate more learning, open a book and help your child point to each picture.
During playtime, give your child two different toys and point the toy he wants and say the name of it. This also works when it comes to his preferred foods. Give your child a choice by letting him hold an apple in one hand and a chocolate chip on the other. Encourage your child to point to the one he wants while saying its name.
5. Bubbles Activity
Babies love bubbles. Blow more bubbles to your child and let your baby pop them up as you say the word “pop pop pop”. Wait for your baby to say it out too. Afterward, you can say the words “bubbles up up up” or “bubbles down down down”. Just let your child say the words too to develop his speech. This is a simple game, yet, it can make a big impact on your child’s language development.
6. Books, books, books
The magic of bedtime stories never fails. You can introduce it as part of your baby’s bedtime routine, and at the same time, you can also share with your baby the importance of reading books. You can look for books intended for young children that have repetitive catchy phrases and lots of vowel sounds that appeal to the baby’s ear. In addition, the illustrations on the books can also be used to get their interest. Exposure to books can greatly stimulate talking skills, and you can do this by pointing at pictures that they like and say the name for it.
7. “Ready, set… go” games
This talking game is all about making your baby realize that if he makes a sound, many exciting things will happen. For this exciting game, you’ll need two rattles, one for you and one for your child. Start by saying the words, “ready, set…, go” and make as much noise as you can with your voice and with your rattle. After some repetition and when the routine was established, just wait for your baby to do his turn and also say the magic words of “ready, set..go”.
You can also use this game for other play activities. When your child loves to play with bricks, play with him and say “up” as you build the bricks. Then, encourage your child to say the words that you say. This game is enjoyable and is a good speech activity as well.
8. Container play
Young ones love playing container games. They love fiddling with lids and throwing things in boxes as if making a big crash out of it. Given this, it is a great way to encourage talking among children. In this play activity, all you need to do is to get some small cars, mini animals, dolls, and two empty boxes. Just say “bye-bye” each time you dramatically put the item into one of the boxes as if a crash had happened. Afterward, pull out one toy at a time and say its name with some actions and gestures like “Hello, car!”, “Hello, doll!”, “Hello, baby pig!”, then throw it into another container.
To encourage your baby to talk, let him mimic your actions with encouragement to do the picking up and throwing in of the toys in the containers. Just remember to never forget to pause and look at him encouragingly so he can also do the talking. This container play is repetitive, and that makes it a perfect opportunity to model simple words and sounds over and over.
9. Clapping of Hands
Every mother is very delighted when her baby has mastered the art of clapping of hands. This hand gesture is a way of communication that indicates enjoyment in whatever the child is doing. Babies really love clapping, and there’s no one who can stop them! Use this chance to engage them in talking with the help of a nursery rhyme like the song “Pat-A-Cake”. A very enjoyable clapping-learning technique is observed when he opens his mouth and joins the tune. To do it as a game, just sit behind your baby and move his hands to a clapping position.
Encouraging babies to talk takes effort to play and talk to them often. Children need to learn how to love talking. As your child starts to talk, you have to be patient, be encouraging, and always be positive. There are many ways you can encourage your baby to talk. To enhance language acquisition and learning, take time in your daily routine and be a talking buddy to your child. This simple act will help greatly to expedite the process.
How to detect speech problems? If you have concerns regarding the speech development of your child, it is best to always tell it to your pediatrician. These are a few red flags for you to consider when in doubt: lack of eye contact and head support; lack of curiosity when it comes to hiding games like peek-a-boo; inability to vocalize a minimum of six words by eighteen months.
What is the role of parents in their babies’ communication and social skills? Parents are the strongest support system of every child, especially during their toddler years. So, it is always best if they can teach their young one’s communication and social skills. A safe and supportive environment will give young children enough self-confidence to express themselves even to other people.