Just before his first birthday, I asked myself when will he use real words. Even though he knew 3 words back then, he used them just because everybody kept repeating: mom, dad, milk. He wasn’t using them for real, but just to say something. A couple of days after his birthday, I caught myself in understanding everything he was saying. And I realized it has been happening for so long, but people just kept talking “he’s not talking” and crawled into my mind.
Anything I explained from his own dictionary was so pointless because “he was so young”. And I even heard people blaming their children. They said “See, this girl is talking and she is even younger than you”! What they have done is the worst thing possible. Some of them tried to compare my child as well, but I made them stop momentarily. There are lots of factors why your child is still not talking, and there are so many reasons not to blame him!
You probably didn’t know, but it’s all in your genes. If you or your partner started talking very young (or vice versa), there is a very big percentage your child will develop this skill the way you did. Another factor may be first/second/third child. The one that was born first will start talking earlier because there will not be other child to steal his time with parents. We shouldn’t forget the fact that girls start everything earlier than boys! Also, if a person that usually takes care of a child is talking a lot- then the chances of toddler willing to talk are much bigger. However, keep in mind, every child is a person for himself.
Make sure to understand his own “words”/words
Oh there are lots of words I try to understand so hard, but it’s a hell of a ride. And no matter what (and how stressful it may be) I always encourage my son to talk. Every other day, he comes to me with a new word he created and sometimes it takes me a lifetime to puzzle it out! And then every third day, he takes my hand and walks me to the thing he just named by himself and asks for it. Every fourth day, he says the new word correctly. And when you keep your eyes wide open, you realize talking with a young child is pretty easy! And it sure is funny and creative.
Watch out for signs
Your explorer’s little fingers are worth a thousands words. He will take you to a cookie box, he will point at the window, wave, rub his stomach, etc. Imitation is also great contact form in those small worlds. Your child will figure it out by himself, or maybe adopt a certain behavior from you, and then he will use it as a sign. Always be aware and counscious, because otherwise your child will be frustrated and lose will.
Help his mission and learn real words
There are so many ways you can help your child on this journey! My tip number one is to always encourage him. If he tries and say a word wrong, you say “well done” and correct him after. This will help learning, and boost confidence.
If you take your child somewhere he hasn’t been before, you will fill his dictionary with some new words and feelings (you may have to say new real words several times).
Singing is even easier than talking, and it brings results! Because, have you ever seen a child who doesn’t LOVE music?
Listen to your little one carefully, and try to lead some kind of conversation with him. Even when you totally don’t understand, always keep trying!
Encourage him to read books EVERY DAY. My son developed real passion for reading. He always reads when he wakes up. It’s a ritual which I made simply by putting books next to his bed.
Write together (I mean, draw abstract paintings). This month (because of us talking and writing real words), he got richer with more letters and words.
Always answer and always ask- because you’re on easier mission then.
But don’t ever force. It can only bring fear and frustration.
How about two or more languages?
I’m so tired of people saying how I am confusing my son. Seriously, people, you should read some books. I’ve researched a lot. And while learning two or more languages may slow the process down, it will not confuse. This will help your child to develop synapses, and with that, to become smarter.