January 14, 2012 by
Communication is big for me. Having been a dog owner before becoming a parent, I was fully aware that beings who don’t “speak the language” (and never will) are perfectly capable of understanding the meaning of words. Babies quickly learn their own names. They learn them because there is meaning attached to hearing it. When someone says their name, they’re going to get attention.
Once a baby learns it’s name, the next important word for them to learn is ‘no.‘ My kids both learned what no meant before they were speaking. They learned it when they were old enough to reach for something that they shouldn’t have. Which is quite young, just a few months old.
The first lessons on “no” occurred when my babies were too young to crawl. For example, Read the rest of this entry →
January 13, 2012 by
Infants are wonderful. They snuggle, they cuddle, they sleep and eat. They smell delicious. And there’s nothing like them. But, there’s not much you can do with them really, except enjoy them. And you get plenty of time to do that at all hours of the day.
I remember when my oldest was still an infant and I had reached that stage where I wasn’t afraid to break him but I also didn’t really know what to do with him. Do you know what I mean? I wanted to do something with him. Not just shake a rattle or sing him songs or change his diapers and snuggle him. I wanted to interact with him.
image credit: flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/
It was fun when he started making sounds. It meant that we could have fun imitating each other. It was a fun game. He would coo, and I would coo back at him. He would baaa I and would baaa back at him. After a while he noticed that I was imitating him, and he started imitating me more intently. Before long he said “Dada.” It was a big day. Not long after that he accomplished “Mama.” (Admitedly, I helped him along a little bit. It’s easy. If you’ve got a baby, try it: when they’re making sounds put your finger on their chin under their mouth and wiggle it so their lips touch and open touch and open. They will sometimes stop making the sound when they notice your touch, but if you persist they will start again. When you manage it, the sound that comes out is Mama. Then you say it too. Everyone is happy! And you know it. Clap your hands!!)
There is a point to this story. I think establishing verbal communication with infants is a very important first step. The sooner they learn that words are more than soothing sounds, that they are tools for communicating ideas, the sooner you gain opportunities to guide them and shape them into the kind of person you wish them to become.
Non-verbal communication is important, but verbal communication is so much more concrete and explicit. Why wait until the baby discovers it on their own? Help them along the way. Guide them to discover that language is there for the taking. Do this, and I guarantee that you’ll have a smartie pants on your hands!
Other posts you might enjoy: When to Teach Your Baby the Meaning of “No” Important Words For Baby: “Stop” or 1-2-3 Now I really Mean It!