Getting Your Baby To Talk with Games
Of all your baby’s important milestones, her first words may be the one you’re waiting for most impatiently. But try as you might, it’s just not possible to “teach” a child to talk before she’s ready. What you can do is encourage her burgeoning language skills through play, says Marian Marcario, a New Jersey based speech-language pathologist.
Peek-a-boo is one of many activities that do much more than entertain your baby, Marcario says. Games that involve eye contact, turn-taking, pointing and other gestures also help babies master crucial developmental building blocks so they can start learning how to communicate on their own.
Here are six fun ways to promote your baby’s language development at home. You don’t need fancy toys or gear – just a few simple and inexpensive “tools,” like bubbles, cotton balls and a baby-safe mirror, are all it takes to help unleash your baby’s inner chatterbox.
Game 1: Body Language
Think of this activity as a lesson in lip-reading and labeling.
Age: 4 to 12 months
Equipment: An unbreakable mirror
Benefits: Focuses baby’s attention on how the lips and tongue move to form words.
How to Play
Sit down with your baby in your lap and hold the mirror in front of both of you (or sit in front of a full-length mirror). Point to your eyes, ears, nose and mouth, telling your baby the name of each part. Then take his hand and help him touch the different parts of his own face, clearly naming each one as you go.
Soon, he’ll be able to identify them when you say the names, and eventually speak them himself. For an extra giggle, amuse your baby by making monkey noises in front of the mirror and see if he’ll do the same.
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