12 Words To Teach Your Baby (and make your life easier!)…
It is said that babies will begin listening to what you’re saying from within the womb! By 6 months, they are already beginning to understand words that you are using and although they can’t talk back, they are starting to babble. These amazing little beings are developing their speech and language from a very young age, and they learn quick!
At the age of 4 months, I began to focus a little more on language with my little one. I knew that repetition was key and that repeating the words 3-5 times would be optimum. What I was unsure about was which words would benefit my baby the most. In other words, which would make my life the easiest?!
The following list includes words that I believe have the widest use and therefore will benefit your baby (and you!) the most.
12 words to teach your baby:
Using ready is ideal for preparing your child for what is about to come next. In swimming we use ‘ready’ along with a deep breath before submerging the baby under the water. The baby instinctively holds their breath.
Ready is also used for dealing with anxious babies which I touched on here.
Ready…here comes the loud noise!
The word should immediately have them stand to attention to await what comes next rather than bringing an element of surprise which your baby will just love you for!
‘Finished’ can refer to them being full and not wanting anymore food. It could also signal to the baby that something is at an end, such as the end of bathtime.
You could attach an action to the word which will allow the baby to communicate it back. This is handy for your baby to let you know when they’ve had enough (such as when they just can’t take your beautiful singing anymore!)
3) Their name
Einstein, eh?! This one is fairly obvious but some prefer to refer to their little one as ‘baby’, e.g. “Baby’s toy”. There is nothing wrong with this but for me personally, you might as well teach them what they will eventually answer to. Just be prepared for selective memory loss with this one, this usually occurs when they’re not interested in what you have to offer.
A straight forward, simple ‘no’ and then removing them from the situation is the best way to correct behaviour at this age (explaining is best left until their language skills have improved). Remember, it isn’t bad behaviour. They’re far too young to know right from wrong. Eventually, they will learn what no means (and that’s when your baby begins to backchat you – they start from an early age!) and life will become so much easier…hmmm.
Babies learn best when you lead by example. A baby is not out to intentionally hurt others but they don’t yet know what ‘gentle’ is, hence the hair yanking and slaps to the face (unfortunately for you, it feels really good for the baby!). Show them the correct way and repeat the word ‘gentle’.
Another way of showing babies that something they do might hurt is teaching them ‘ouch’ and show the baby your sad face.
Ouch, that hurts Mummy
Babies can read emotion from a very young age so will soon realise that ‘ouch’ is a negative response…or they might be a devil child and laugh in your face (like mine) but they’ll get there…eventually.
7) Uh oh
Super easy sounds that your baby will later be able to say. This one is great for bringing the baby’s attention to the consequence of their action. For example, if they grab something they shouldn’t and it breaks we can respond with “uh oh” and show them what has happened. It becomes especially useful when your little tear away can say ‘uh oh’ and has been upto no good. Hearing that ‘uh oh’ from behind you will soon fill you with dread!
I know this one sounds harsh but it has a multitude of uses! The main one being that you can indicate to your baby that you are not finished yet. I especially need this when Little One insists on wriggling away in his birthday suit after a bath.
Although I do also teach Little One the word ‘milk’, drink is a little more universal. This is super helpful in quickly establishing your baby’s needs. As they get older and begin weaning, you can introduce eat to their vocabulary.
10) Bye/See you soon
This is especially important for older babies as they begin to become more anxious when their parents leave. There is nothing worse than sneaking out and leaving your baby unaware with the minder. Despite how unhappy they might get, you should always allow the baby to see that you are leaving and then greet them again with I’m back or something similar so that they understand that you will always return.
Not only are we teaching direction but the word ‘up’ is an easy word to learn to say at a later stage to communicate that they want to be picked up.
Oliver Twist springs to mind! Of course, it can be used to offer more food. However, once they understand the word it becomes particularly useful as it can be attached to other words such as ‘more play’ and ‘no more’.
Of course, there are many, many more words that you need to teach your baby but for me, these have been the most useful as a starting point.
Now, Little One responds to ‘finished’ with a wave of his arm; he strokes the dog with care when we remind him ‘gentle’; and when we say ‘no’ he shouts wildly in protest BUT he does respond and moves away!
Which words have worked best for you? Let me know below!