Encouraging kids to talk seems to be something that is universal. While I wait (rather impatiently) for first babbles and first words, Danny’s playgroup online is hitting the 18 month mark and everyone is talking about talking. My child only says x words, how do I get them to say more?
I try not to chime in too much, in part because I don’t want to come off as a know-it-all and in part because it is quite honestly hard sometimes to read all about how kids Danny’s age are “only” saying 5 or 10 words and “only” following one step instructions. I try to slip myself into my old shoes, the ones I wore when it was just Eric and I was saying and thinking the same things, but they’re a little tight and just don’t fit anymore. My best advice, though?
If there is one thing I soaked in from AVT early, it is the concept of wait time. Babies aren’t adults; they don’t know the ebb and flow of conversation. An immediate response is not always forthcoming, because they need more time to process what’s going on. So say something to your baby, then wait. Count to 5, then count to 10, then count again.
What kid is going to talk for themselves if we’re always jumping in and speaking up for them?
Danny and I have started having some awesome conversations. He isn’t doing much typical babbling yet and certainly isn’t saying words, but he’s got his own language and it suits him well. I let him tell me stories, encouraging him along and pausing to give him room to talk some more. It makes him smile. Sometimes, it makes him laugh. I imagine one day he could be quite a talkative kid, because he seems to love to be listened to.
(Sidebar. I imagine my deaf son to be a talkative kid. God, cochlear implants still amaze me.)
We are laying a foundation to build language on. Yes, there are days – many of them – that I wish we could just move into the house instead of building it brick by brick…but that’s just not the way it works. Instead, we celebrate the little things, like how when he’s eating and says /m/ then goes on to babble it almost sounds like “mamama.”
I don’t even care that I’m the only one that hears it.