Updated: Nov 6, 2019
My wee one in between grumpy guts-ing as a communication these days is talking, not English mind you , but chatting up a story and telling anyone who will listen from the postman, to the lady in the shop to her toys a story. It's wonderful to watch and especially to hear. I know the saying that we spend the first couple of years getting our kids to walk and talk and then the next years getting them to sit down and be quiet. But these lovely precursors to language is so much fun to be part of. And so important that we acknowledge.
You will notice the influx of noises and babbling around the same time as weaning usually , this is because they are learning how to use their mouths. And appreciation of course for all the lovely tastes and textures you are providing them !! But yes suddenly life is not a liquid diet anymore, tongue development and chewing movements, jaw maturity , and control comes in to pay , they are able to open and close mouth and they are teaching muscle memory to their face. And boy do they love practising this , not just with spitting food out. They start to sing and in the case of a friend of mines baby , loudly and high pitched ( think Mariah Carey as an infant ) They are exercising the vocal cords, stretching the range from just simple communications of crying. My wee one grumbles and growls during meal times, going up high and down low finding pitch.
They will start to have conversations with other babies, ( it's so funny to watch )! Lie them together and they will chat up a storm like nattering old ladies. They will start to focus in on conversations that you are having a join in, they will look at you directly and babble to you, usually at nappy times when your faces are very close. This is what you want! Jump in and chat back , I mean it you can either fill in the gap with English ( of chosen language , and yes if there is chance of them learning two go for it ) and or copy them with baby babble. Encourage encourage encourage them to speak up and out. It is proven that children that are spoken to directly, and included in conversations like round the dinner table ( have them eat with you at the same time ) or you having a coffee group and everyone on the floor chatting , have a much wider and varied vocabulary and speak sooner ( hmmm might not be the best thing, kidding ) They learn faster and brain development is better than if they educated through tv mostly. Don't get me wrong there are some wonderful programs now that have looked at early sounds and incorporate them in to their programs that directly encourage speech development ( the BBC are very good , Night Garden and Telly Tubbies etc ) what sounds like babble is exactly that and children respond to repetition and response.
Which brings me to the next point nicely, repeat and respond. Singing is a wonderful way to learn and to practise sounds. Most song have hand gestures as well , think inch wincy spider , etc. In using a familiar tune, actions and the same words over and over it stimulates all parts of your child brain. Cognitive, gross motor skills in movement. I would say if this is your first rodeo , get in to a class that is either paid or free and learn all the staples so you can sing and play at home. Repeat on demand. Also say things over and over again that are easier to learn. Mummy , Daddy, Ta ( short version for thank you ) Hi, Name of body parts , Head shoulders knees and toes ( another good song to have on repeat ) BaaBaa is another one they can say.
Play , play play, I have written a blog about getting down on the floor and interacting with them , but talk at all times about what you are doing. Red blocks, oh look Im stacking them , look this fits in here, wow what this puppet doing. Give a running narrative to their day. And then breath allowing them to learn the pauses in conversations and interactions, let them speak out and give them a lot of praise when they do. Soon the sounds will take shape in to language that you speak ( if going bi lingual don't panic that they will be 'slower' to speak , completely normal , you would too if you were processing two different phonics )
This is a wonderful time, when you see the light bulbs going off and lighting up their faces, I know this one, I can wave, or do the actions, and they start to attempt to make the words or sounds that accompany life. And the pride in your eyes when they see that they are on the right track, priceless. I am looking forward to the things that my wee one will say ....