I just received an email from my wife’s mother, asking for a baby speech book.
As an adult, I’ve had the privilege of meeting thousands of children and grandchildren, and I can attest that some of them are incredibly eloquent.
But many have no idea what to say, let alone how to say it.
When my wife and I were trying to figure out what speech books to choose, we found out that most of them use a combination of phrases.
These phrases are generally short and to the point, but sometimes they are also lengthy.
The trouble is that many baby-based speech books don’t include the phrases that you need to know to make your child’s speech a little more memorable.
Fortunately, there are ways to make child-directed language a little less daunting for parents.
I’ve used baby-centric speech books for years and love them.
I think they are the most important thing I’ve ever read for my children.
Here are a few suggestions for making baby-specific speech books a little easier to find.
Choose a book that uses the “parent” pronoun.
Instead of “I”, “Your”, “Me”, or “Yourself”, try “Yours.”
This is the way baby speech works.
If you don’t say “I” or “You”, your child will probably just use “Your.”
If your child says, “Your name is My name,” it means “My name is Your name.”
This is because you don.
It’s an acknowledgment of what your child is saying.
This is a baby-friendly way to say things, which makes the experience of reading the book even more satisfying.
Use parent-friendly phrases.
If you can’t use the “I,” “Your” or even “Your self” pronouns, then try using phrases that are easier for your child to hear.
Here are some examples: “Oh my goodness, it’s you!”
“I think my name is yours, too.”
“What’s your name?
My name is your name.”
“My parents are both Your parents.”
Use the correct “parent-friendly” pronouns.
This one is really easy.
Just choose the correct pronoun for the situation.
For example, if you’re trying to teach your child that babies are not to be named after a person, then the pronouns “Your mommy,” “My dadmy,” or “My grandmamy” are okay.
Use baby-appropriate vocabulary.
Some parents prefer using baby-inflected vocabulary.
For those of you who use baby-focused speech books, I’d recommend starting with the most commonly used words, then gradually increasing the amount of baby-related words that you use.
Use a child-friendly vocabulary editor.
To make baby-led speech a lot easier for children, it is very helpful to have a child friendly vocabulary editor that can help you organize and edit your child-focused vocabulary.
You can find a good one for free on the Naming & Dating website.
Make sure that your child gets to speak for a long time.
As your child ages, his or her vocabulary will become less and less relevant.
But if you are using baby speech books that teach your baby to say baby-talk, it will help your child become more aware of what to do when he or she says something.
For instance, you might have a very good idea what you want your child say at a particular point in time, but your child might not know what to repeat.
Make a child’s own “tweet” to help them learn the word.
“Hey, Dad, how about a little shout-out?
I want to thank you for saying my name!”
“It’s time for you to start using your new baby-speak.”
Try to give your child a “parent’s note” to keep him or her occupied.
My favorite thing I can do to keep my children occupied when they’re learning baby-level language is to have them write down their favorite words or phrases for me to use later.
Make it fun for your children to say their own baby-derived speech.
Sometimes, it makes a baby happy to hear that his or she has helped someone else say something.
Other times, it helps them to remember a particular phrase or a particular baby-word that they used in their speech.
If they find themselves wanting to repeat something, I recommend giving them a “tour of the baby language.”
Make baby-safe by using baby names that match the child’s age and gender.
The next time you’re looking for something for your baby, ask yourself if you should use baby names to match their gender or age.
And if you have any questions about using baby language, please ask them in the comments below.