Updated: Jan 30
As I've said before , I have been a nanny professionally for many years so when my daughter starts to get agitated , I know the signs and through my Jedi training know whats bugging her. Right now its language , she is starting to talk and vocalising a word a day it seems which is great. But the problem is she knows so many words but just cant quite get them out. And that causes frustration. So instead of saying them , she started to screech them , at me , loudly.
Now for those who it is their first rodeo may read this as a tantrum or naughtiness, attention seeking ( which rightly it is , but good attention seeking ) . This vocalisation is usually at the most inopportune moments. Social setting , when you're trying to do something , cook, eat, get out door. And can be hard to handle as well as hear. But it is communication and that is important , you want to encourage this , even if it is at uncomfortable decibels sometimes. You want to encourage the communication not eh volume that is ! There are ways to give yourself and your child the space to communicate with each other.
Signing. Baby sign language is a wonderful way to communicate before and even after they can speak. And is really helpful in the transition period between verbal and non verbal dialogue . There are plenty of classes you can take to learn it together with your child. Or implement your own. We all do it naturally anyway . Think hand gestures in a noise pub, hungry, rub tummy or putting something in your mouth , drink, tired, nappy change. You name it. There are tutorials on you tube and flash cards and help online. I witnessed a friends baby tell her mother she needed a nappy change with a hand movement that was asked and answered. Wonderful. It can take the guess work out of what they want or need for you and the frustrations out of the situation for them.
Use your words. Both of you , a child will stop screeching if you pay them some attention. If you are in a social setting, forget others and what you think they think and if its suitable acknowledge your wee ones attempts to talk to you . I get down to their level or make eye contact and say and it seems Im saying this a lot to one wee one right now. Use your words. What do you need? I tell her to stop using her voice like she is ( high pitched and loud ) and try to say something, I'm listening. Then I wait..... It maybe an instant or a wee while till she forms the sounds but I give her the space to speak.
Repeat. What ever their efforts are to tell you something, acknowledge the attempt as most times in the beginning it will be wrong or not quite there. Repeat what they have said but correctly so they get to hear the word they are trying to grasp. Yes, baby talk and getting it wrong leads to great stories and family in jokes but try your best to correct them without shaming them so they will at least know the right way to say things. Repetition is one of the best and most effective way for them to learn in all things and especially language as right now it's only a spoken form for them. Reading it comes later. Just remember to watch what you say. They will I stress WILL repeat the bad words at the wrong time in the wrong company.
Encouraging them to continue. Even if they talk a whole sentence of babble at you . Say something like ''wow ok, then what, or yes I agree''. Holding a conversation even if its in babble is showing them that what they are doing is on the right track. Invaluable praise is you answering them ( no matter what they say or think they are saying ) I do a high five, a fist bump ( care of her teenage brothers ) and a wee dance when she gets the right word. We say it like above over and over.
Sound it out, like when in the future they will learn to read the words they know, sounding it out can be helpful. Make it phonetic , pronounce your words long so they can see your mouth move. I ask my wee one to watch my mouth. Make it so they can hear every syllable, every inflection.
Senses , children learn through the five senses, see it, taste it, touch it, hear it, smell it and learning to speak is no different. Touch the cup, their hair, toes, table, shoes what ever, get them to touch what they are trying to say. In evoking all or some of the senses at once the lesson is learned in unison and more easily remembered.
Space and time, when they are yelling or what seems like whinging at you , they are trying to communicate but unsuccessfully. We need to remember that it is up to us to teach them , where and when to be heard. What I mean by this is not children should be seen and not heard. But there is a way and place to be heard. We should not tell them to be quiet but give them guide lines to follow, that works for their situation. Your family setting or social environment. Be it a tug in leg or at some point an ''excuse me'' or a 'Mummy' repeated over and over. We need to show them what we need from them to give them what they need from us. Space to find an in when they need it and time to express what they want to say. If I cant talk and want to teach her to wait. I look down to her acknowledge her and say , I hear you but I need to finish what ever or lets go sit down , etc. Children need to learn patience and manners for want of a better word.
They are smart enough to being attempting communication with you , then they are smart enough learn the right way to do it. That conversation happens in flows. That they need to engage their brain to convey what they want and when applicable they need to voice it in the right way for them to get heard and for you to understand. This time in their lives is such a special one as they are putting in to practise what they have figured out in their heads. You'll find your child understands everything ( to their level ) that you are saying far before they can tell you all about it. The look of pure joy when they make the right sound that corresponds with what they mean is sheer joy. And we need to give them all the tools to use, to get them on their way. But enjoy the process and the short lived silence as once they have got it, you will never get a word in edgeways !!