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Great Ways to Stimulate Your Baby's Vocabulary
by Rebecca Garland

Children say the cutest things, even before they can really form full words. Nothing warms your heart like the first “Da-da,” and you’ll surely notice that babies don’t just communicate with words, the series of grunts, expressions and gestures all make up the ever increasing vocabulary of your little one. To help her vocabulary along, you should stimulate it as much as possible, although there is no need to play “teacher.” Simply being involved and active her in day is a great way to move her vocabulary forward.

The Daily Discussion
It might raise eyebrows in the grocery store, but they won’t be the eyebrows of other parents. The best way to help your child learn words is to speak to her as though she is having a conversation with you. That doesn’t mean constant stream of baby talk, but real words and phrases that she can learn from. You might be caught wandering down Aisle 8 speaking clearly to a four-month old baby, “Now Julia, let’s go find the cottage cheese. Your daddy loves to eat some for a snack during half-time.”

Fill in the Blanks
As your child starts to speak, the first words will be simple and might only be recognizable by you, her parents.

Regardless, you should celebrate this monumental achievement and help her learn as much as she can take in. In addition to simply talking to her about anything and everything, start filling in the blanks. The time between twelve and twenty-four months is a huge time for acquiring new words.

When she points to a bottle and grunts or cries, ask her, “Oh! Do you want your bottle now? Here’s your bottle full of yummy milk!” She might not start chatting away immediately, but the words and association are filed away in her brain, and one day she’s surprise you by asking for “mil” or a “ba-ba” instead of just pointing.

Expose Her to Developmental Language
Presumably, as your baby’s parent, your language is fully developed at an adult level. Your child can benefit tremendously, however, from being around other children closer to her own age. There is a language explosion between two and three for most children, and a four-year-old can speak at a level high enough to hold a real conversation.

Older babies and toddlers are greatly impressed by these “big boys and girls” and will learn much from their company. Simply being in a social setting with other children speaking and laughing will encourage your child to open up that much more and try a few new words of her own.

Recognize Potential Problems
Speech delays and problems are very common. It’s natural for a child to speak her first word between twelve and eighteen months. By two your child should be able to use two, three or four word sentences and have a vocabulary close to 200 words. By thirty months, your child should be able to speak a grammatically correct sentence. By three your child’s vocabulary should be close to 1,000 words and she’ll understand almost everything you say.

If your have any concerns about your child’s speech, be proactive and communicate this to your doctor as soon as you start to wonder. If there is a delay, the earlier you’re able to begin intervention, the faster you’ll see results. The vast majority of speech delays are resolved well before your child starts elementary school if not preschool.

What new words has your Baby learned recently? Share with family using a TotSite!

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