Let’s talk talk….
I LOVE to talk, don’t you? I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing better than a good old natter, so grab a coffee, pull up a chair, tell me about your day… anyway, I digress!
Talk is something we do all the time; we don’t even think about it do we? I mean, just this morning I have had a chat to myself (shocking habit, one I need to get under control 😉), talked to my bigger kids, said hi to my husband and talked to the dishwasher and all that was just before breakfast! We are talking all the time.
So why do we need a blog on talking to our baby’s?
Well, it turns out that talk is HUGE for your baby!
If you think about it, talk is the way to unlock most of life. When we have talk, we have a passport to success in life because when we have talk, we have words. When we have words, we are able to express ourselves, learn to read and learn to write. We can find out information, we can articulate our thoughts and ideas and of course build relationships.
It also turns out that the more talk we do and the earlier we do it, the better it is for our baby. Because your baby’s brain is growing at such a bonkers rate when they are tiny, it’s really ready, primed even, for learning. (Do you know your baby’s brain will grow to 80% of its full size in the first 3 years of being on this earth? That’s a bonkers amount of growth!). And talking to your baby helps fill that brain up with fab words that they can use later on!
So talking to your baby IS a really good idea!
The problem is, that when they are a bump, you can’t even see them, and when they are newborn they are hardly brilliant at conversation and seem to fill quite a lot of time with crying, feeding, and pooing don’t they?! Then in the toddler years, they talk in language that is almost unintelligible and they yabber on and on about nothing most of the time, or they get so into what they are doing they say nothing and then burst into a tantrum from nowhere! So, they are not the BEST person to have a cuppa and a chat with, are they? It’s kind of all a bit one-sided!
So how do you do it? How do you talk with your baby so you don’t feel like an idiot?!
First of all, when you are pregnant, imagine your baby in your tummy… really think about them, think about their personality, wonder about what you might do together and kind of get to know them, after all they are going to come out as a person!!! It’s SUCH an amazing (and odd) thought isn’t it?! And then just chat, literally out loud. Yes, talk to your baby and tell them what you are doing, and I really mean everything… so you might say things like,
‘Right, I’m just going to have a shower now.
Oh! the water’s a bit hot!
That feels good.’
If someone is around and you feel silly, then do it in your head, but it is so much better when you do it out loud, because then your baby can actually hear you!
When you have a newborn, you are shattered… yes, I hear you! That’s the overriding feeling, isn’t it? Well then, tell your baby! But just make sure you do it in a kind and loving tone…
‘Mummy is really tired today because someone I know didn’t want to sleep last night did they?!’
Or if you are just hanging out in the house tell them what you are doing;
‘I’m just going to do the washing up and then I am going to make a coffee, and then you can have some yummy milk! Here I go, filling the kettle, and now I’m going to put it on. Can you hear it making all that noise?’
And you just keep doing that!
What’s important is that you keep asking questions (like I just did in the kettle example above) and leave a gap for your baby to answer. (Yes, yes I know that they are not likely to say, ‘Oh, make me a coffee too’, but by doing that you are teaching them how a conversation works, babies really do need to learn EVERYTHING!). If you get into the habit of doing this, your baby will eventually attempt to answer and one day you might well be surprised by the answer they come up with!
And then another great way of getting more chat happening when you are around your baby is to narrate everything THEY are doing and ask them lots of questions about it. Just talk out what they are doing, question everything. So you might say;
‘Are you having scrummy milk? (pause), were you REALLY hungry? Yes, Did mummy leave it too long? Mummm she did didn’t she and you got REALLY upset, but that’s ok, cause it’s ok now, isn’t it? Yes, that’s better isn’t it.
Oh bother, I forgot to get some water for me! Why do I never remember that when I feed you, I am SO thirsty? I wonder if Daddy will get Mummy some water. What do you think? (pause)
(off to the side) Fred, can you please get me some water, I forgot it.
(To baby) What a kind daddy you have, he has gone to get me some water, so you can have your milk without being disturbed.’
And so it goes on!
If you are playing with your toddler, a great thing to do is to engage them in conversation. Some of these can be hysterical as they intently tell you VERY important stuff in totally unintelligible language!! When they do that, actively listen, look like it makes a whole heap of sense and ask questions to further the conversation like this:
Toddler holding a toy: ‘ashlsdhoghwetwwpeghph wpejfpwrtj weohoegherpih’
Dad: ‘Really? Did it?’ (pause)
Toddler: Weohwowort wothertgnfvonfdkn wroherj’
Dad: ‘Goodness, and THEN what happened?’ (pause)
Toddler: ‘Sdfnlgn wegepjdf wohgehoegnvc dnlsngwl’
Dad: ‘You are joking? NOOOOOO!’ (pause)
And so the conversation goes on.
When you talk to your baby like this, you are helping them begin their language journey, you are showing them how conversation works, you are naming nouns (without even realising that they are nouns or that you are doing it!!) and you are building their vocabulary, that helps to build your baby’s brain and make them more ready for life and learning. You are laying the foundations for reading and writing.
There are SO many different ways to build language into your day, and the more you do it the more you’ll build your baby’s brain, the more you’ll help them have the skills they need to excel in life. In the Oliiki app, we show you how to build language into every situation (the amount you do matters). We explain how YOU can have significant impact on your baby’s language development, and we outline specific activities designed to focus on building each part of language that your baby needs. You see when a baby has good language, they will be more likely to talk earlier and read more easily. When a child has less language around them, they may know only half the words of their friends, which will make them feel lost and behind. And it will be harder for them to express their feelings and thoughts when they get frustrated. And school, (when they get to that stage) stops being fun. If they don’t learn to read, they are 4 times more likely to drop out of school. And children who drop out of school the research shows, will be more likely to have poorer health, become teen parents, be unemployed and even go to jail! So, you see talk REALLY matters…
If you want help, the Oliiki app guides you through right from the conception of your baby through to when they are two, so you know WHAT to do and HOW to do it, but more importantly, you understand WHY you are doing it and how it will help your baby. You can find out more about the Oliiki app here: www.oliiki.com
And download it here: http://ow.ly/BlJv50zxBum
Give it a go, when something as simple as talk makes such a difference to your baby, you know that when it comes to baby development, simple is never simple!
If you have any questions about all this talk, I will be live every Wednesday (talking!!!) over on the Oliiki Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Oliiki/ Join us, ask your questions, we LOVE to hear from you.