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Most babies start to say words such as "mum" and "dad" by their first birthday and by eighteen months will have quite a large vocabulary of small words. If they do not say the word correctly, which is often the case to start with, just repeat it to them.  Never reprimand them for getting it wrong this will only undermine their confidence.

To increase your child's vocabulary talk slowly and clearly, looking directly at your child as you speak.  This is best done in a quite room with no other distractions.  Make it as interesting as possible by changing the tone and intimation in your voice or making it into a game.  Point to your own nose, eyes etc. saying the word clearly and ask the child to repeat it back to you.  You can also hide their own toys behind your back and then name them as they are "found".

In order for your child to hear as many different words as possible, explain simple everyday tasks as you are doing them in simple language.   As you go round the supermarket point out the different things and tell the child their name, colour etc.

It is never to early for books, even six month old babies can enjoy a brightly coloured book. It is best to start with books which have one clear picture of an object on each page, the name of which can be told to the child and then, as the child gets older, the object can be described to the child by colour, shape etc. bringing more words into their vocabulary.

Use gestures to reinforce any spoken words, such as waving as you say "Goodbye", nodding as you say "Yes" etc.

Avoid baby talk, it just has to be learnt twice.   What they first learn as"Choo-choo" becomes "Train", "Woof-Woof" becomes "Dog" etc., all very confusing!

If there is an older child in the family you will often find they will do the talking for the baby, in view of this, it is a good idea to make a particular effort to try to talk to the baby when the other child is occupied elsewhere.  

As soon as they can tell between cat, dog, and bird, begin using the correct breed/species names.

Works for all else, cloud types, flowers [say "rose" and "daisy" not just "flower".] Use colors and other adjectives, not just "pretty" or "nice".

Christina Ellyson





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