Teaching A B C is not a mission to accomplish when she begins talking

how to handle the toddler - ZenParent

Waewaewaeentobentobeeeeewwwww. No. There is no typo here. I am just trying to share a test on understanding baby language. So? How was it? Did you manage to get it right? To be honest, I didn’t. And trust me your baby doesn’t as well. She may be using this language but that really does not mean that you too should try your hand at it. Baby language is for babies. Not for you. She loves to hear you talk the way you normally do, the only exception allowed being that of ensuring that the tone is pleasant. For a baby to develop her language, it is important that she is spoken to normally. And when we say ‘normally’, I strictly suggest that you do not indulge in baby language. When she learns to talk, she needs to learn it the right way. The more you indulge in baby talk, the more challenging it may prove to teach her things when she really learns to talk. It has been researched and proven that the language that the child is exposed to has a huge impact in the development of her vocabulary.

The relationship between walking and talking
Before we list down things that you can teach your child when she begins talking, it is imperative to understand the development of speech and its relation to the child learning to walk. According to Rudolf Steiner, language development grows out of movement and the ability to walk. Rahima Baldwin Dancy in her book – You are your Child’s First Teacher shares and excerpt –

relationship between baby walk and talk - ZenParent

The relation between physical equilibrium (action of the legs) and psychical equilibrium (action of the hands and arms) forms the foundation which enables the child to come into contact with the outer worl through the medium of language. When we observe the formation of sounds and sentences (the rhythm and melody of speech), we can easily see the part played by the upper and lower limbs respectively in their formation. Speech arises from the human being as a whole.

Steiner points out that when a child walks sturdily and steadily, it has the bodily foundation for a correct syllable-division. What this implies is that no sooner you see your child walking steadily, you will also observe the formation of sentences. An unsteady walk is accompanied with broken sentences and the child getting lost in a series of words to put forth his thoughts.

Steiner further states: The child should learn to walk before it learns to speak. Speech must have its basis in the equilibrium of movements of the limbs. If it lacks this foundation in the whole being, it becomes a stammering or bleating.

What NOT to teach when the Child Talks
Certainly not ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘C’ and Baba Blacksheep. No sooner does our child learns to talk, we immediately take it as a mission to acquaint her with 26 alphabets and the series of nursery rhymes that we know of. Another common mistake we do is introduce all our relatives and neighbours, park friends etc to her and teach her to address them as ‘Sarita masi’, Sanjay mama, aunt Seal etc etc. There is time for her before she understands ‘relationships’. Hand on till then.

what not to teach when baby talk for first time - ZenParent

Questions and Answers
Take it easy. There is absolutely no need to feed the child with endless information the moment she learns to talk. We tend to get carried away by the series of questions asked by the toddler and the immediate reaction from our end is to respond to all the questions with specific answers. In Miseducation, David Elkind accentuates this by saying that we must always keep in mind that young children’s verbal skills far outspace their conceptual knowledge. Because children’s questions sound so mature, we are tempted to answer them at a level of abstraction far beyond their level of comprehension. Children are really asking about the purpose of things, not about how they work. A question on why it rains can be answered with a simple – So that there is water for all of us to drink rather than explaining the science behind cloud formation.  

Her proficiency in speech should not lead you to scouting for pre-schools
How often have we heard people around coaxing us to enroll our children in pre-schools to ensure that they are ready to face the world from an early age or so that their energies and intelligence can be channelized well. Hang on. The more time your toddler spends with you at home, the more her speech shall further develop. Social interaction is necessary but that can happen in the park during the evening play time. A pre-school needs to be avoided if there is no pressing necessity (like mother and father both working hence enters the need for a pre-school and a day care).

 Natural Learning
Let the learning be natural. When you take an apple in your hand, all you have to say is – Today, Bobby is going to have a red apple. Or, when at the park; Bobby and mommy are walking on green grass and there is a coconut tree. This is how you introduce your child to things around her and you may ask her to repeat what you have just shared. For e.g. – So what is Bobby going to have right now? Take her favorite doll (let’s call her Mia) and let her say Good Morning when she is awake. For e.g. – Mia says a Good Morning to Bobby. Bobby do you want to wish her as well?

Learning is a lifelong process. When you child has managed to grasp verbal ability, allow her to explore it herself rather than setting on a mission to teach her all that you can and as quickly as you can.

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