My Baby Is 6 Months Old And Not Sitting Up For the Love of Language

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For the Love of Language

Tips on language development for infants and toddlers

I am not a psychologist, teacher or speech therapist. I’m just a normal mum, who has got a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. But I have a 2-year-old son, Joshua, who has exceptionally good language skills (not only according to his completely non-objective mother, but also some teachers and child development experts), so I often asking me questions about how we did that. Of course Garrick (my husband) and I didn’t do it, Joshua did. And there are several factors – from genetics to how slowly he started walking – that could account for his abilities with vocabulary and pronunciation. However, I took some time to reflect on the way we handled language in our home, and this is what I can share.

Start at the very beginning

Talk to your children from the word go, or instead from the words ‘No way, two struggles, I’m pregnant!’ It is well documented that little jellybeans in the womb pick up language skills, especially the sounds and rhythms of their mother tongue(s). Garrick used to read complex metaphysical literature to my stomach, but you really don’t have to go any further than reading your favorite magazine, novel or even your e-mails. shout out to Shakespeare. It’s the sound that counts, not the content.

Talk, Talk, Talk

We talked (and still do) with Joshua all day. Whether it was in the pouch as a tiny pram, or in the car seat while Garrick drove, we explained what we were doing (Look, Mum’s adding soap to the water) or what we were seeing (It’s windy today, say Do you see those leaves dancing?), no matter how walking. Yes, talking to a week old baby feels a bit awkward, but I assure you she is listening and often responds with raised eyes or turning her head. the attack of the sound. Later, when she responds with coos and spit bubbles, respect that as her language and treat it as ‘real’ communication, complete with questions and facial expressions. Gurgle conversations are wonderful for self-esteem and social skills.

As Joshua gets older, we use more emotional language (I feel sad today because I miss Nanna). Not only does this give him a vital vocabulary, which has saved him a tantrum more than once (after all, if you can explain how you feel, you usually don’t have to show), it also shows him that adults have the same feelings. he does, and that builds trust.

Parents vs boffinese

Before I became a parent, one of my (many) theories was that I would never use the kind of cringe-worthy baby talk I heard other parents use. No icchy-icchy coo-coos in our erudite household, thank you very much. To my shame and shock, a new sarcastic language escaped my mouth when I held Joshua in my arms. I was calling him ninky and noo-noo before we even left the clinic. Well, that theory goes (probably to the same graveyard that now holds my theories about dummies or Panado). My sense is that parenting, as it is euphemistically called, is a rather gentle mix of sounds, for parent and child. It will also be a very personal way of connecting because so many of the words are made up impromptu and will be unique to your home.

That said, we were also from the very beginning talking to Joshua like we were talking to each other – not adding ‘num-num’, for example, or ‘penis’ with ‘wee-wee’ ‘ replace ‘porridge’. They are at their peak at a young age, and the real word is no more difficult to learn than any other word. However, you don’t have to try to raise your speaking level so that your child is clever (whatever ‘clever’ means). That won’t be easy, or fun, and anyway, kids are like sniffer dogs for dishonesty. Just include them in the family conversation with real respect.

The sound of music

Garrick and I have often joked that since we’ve had children, our house has become a musical. We added EVERYTHING to a song (The potty, the potty, a fun place to be; the potty, the potty, it’s made for your wee). Although you may lose some of your most learned friends, or the perfect neighbors, your children will sing their way to a better memory for words and a good sense of the rhythm and rhyme of the language. Perhaps more importantly, they will see their parents being a little silly and having fun, which will make them feel like they want to be on the same team as you and, you guessed it, speak the same language.

Absence of vocabulary

That brings me to the point about making language fun. Helping your children to speak is not a chore, or a competitive exercise. If you have that hidden insight, these little sniffer dogs will find it and reveal it to you in a creative, interesting way. It’s fun to find a language and make it your own, show them how you approach words. I’ve mentioned singing, but the same applies to making up silly poems and silly rhymes (Here’s your mash, don’t let it fall into your eyes!) or getting things intentionally wrong (What’s at the end of your leg, is it? Your nose?). Children LOVE to be a little absurd and they learn more easily from adults who can be a little absurd too.

Encourage emotion, not perfection

This may be a bit rich coming from me (linguistic pedant and postgraduate literature), but the purpose of learning a language is not to develop perfect grammar, but to be able to express yourself correctly and magnificently. It doesn’t matter if your little one breathlessly tells you that he went on a big train and ate sanrich. Wow! He’s sharing his life and thoughts with you, that’s sacred and something you might want to do more of when he’s older. A respectful response to that is to match and express his happiness WITHOUT CORRECTIONS and simply repeat his sentence using more grammatically correct words: ‘Joshua says he went on a train and that he ate a sandwich, wow! I can see you’re excited about that’. The more confidently children speak, the more often they do it.

No no no

We had breakfast at an outdoor restaurant this morning and, as usual, we were talking to Joshua about the names of the things around us. When we noticed the shadowy canopy that covered our table, he told us it was a kite. The automatic response to that is to say ‘No dear, that’s not a kite, it’s an umbrella’. Innocent enough, but deadly. I’m sure any parent knows the effectiveness of any sentence that starts with the word ‘no’ (closed ears, challenge, tantrum if you’re lucky and withdrawal or shame if you’re not), but a in addition, her reasoning process is about responses to a child who wants respect. When I saw that umbrella I noticed that it was made up of wooden poles arranged with material pulled tightly over it – just like a kite! Instead of discouraging Joshua, we praised him for being aware of the same, so he walked away with total respect, as well as two new words and, more importantly, some co- relative and relative. Also, rather than ‘No, honey, it’s not grandma’, say ‘Yes, I can see why you think it’s grandma, she has the same color hair! Good to be aware of. Now, how can you tell it’s not really a grandmother?’ I would go so far as to say that when it comes to everyday conversation with your child it is never useful to answer by saying ‘No’ (unless you want them to stop talk!)

Synonym city

I have never consciously, or consciously, sat with Joshua to work on his vocabulary (can you imagine anything more difficult?). Instead, I simply use opportunities in our daily conversations to pick up new, and more complex, words. I do ‘synonomise’ all the time! ‘Do you see all those people in that bus, dear? How many passengers are there in that bus. Where do you think all the passengers on that bus are going?’ Without ‘teaching’, that links ‘people-on-a-bus’ in his mind to ‘passengers’ and ‘passengers’. And it’s been great for flexing my own mental muscles too.

Q and A

We will try not to answer any questions for Joshua that he could answer himself. So if he says ‘what’s in that pot mum?’ I don’t tell him, but instead pick up the pot and say ‘What do you see in that pot? It helps him find words in his mind and is great for imagination (it seems we’ve been cooking elephants many times). ‘Where are these people going Dad?’ turning to the question ‘Where did you think those workers would be traveling to my boy?’ Also be aware that this method fails several times. When we are tired, or sick, or sick and tired, we do whatever it takes to (a) speed up the journey to bed (b) create some peace and quiet and/or (c) we keep yourself safe. . That, too, is allowed.

Jumping while jumping

If you have a very active child, who still can’t sit for half an hour than I hope on one leg for half an hour, it might be a challenge to spend a good amount of time doing things (like reading or speak. ) which improves vocabulary. We have understood the value of bath time in this regard. Until a certain age, children are a captive audience while in the pool and, therefore, it will be easier to follow a story or learn a song there because there are no options to run, climb, hop or crawl instead ! Treat bath time as a unique window of opportunity for your child’s language development. From a very young age, we sang two nursery rhymes to Joshua in the bath every night (Twinkle, Twinkle and Incy Wincy Spider) with actions, funny accents and funny facial expressions. After about the millionth repetition (or so it seemed) he started copying us, not necessarily with the words (he was only 6 months old) but with some of the movements and the basic sounds. We have since added to our repertoire – thankfully – but we still spend most of our time in the pool singing or making up stories. If you have more than one adult in the car at a time, the same can be true for when your child is strapped into a car seat.

In fact, encouraging a love of language in your child is far more important than working on actual skills. The basic recipe for this – as it usually is with children – is a base of power and respect with liberal sprinklings of sports. Full stop.

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