Posted on Monday, April 18, 2016 by Anna 2 minutes
Children communicate in various ways and contexts. When you are around them, just take a pause and observe them communicating in so many ways. One child may gesture (pointing, pulling the person towards the item) while another may create noises such as laughter for happiness or crying for distress.
As each child develops at his or her own pace, usually they start with reflexive sounds of crying, giggling and laughter. Once they have become aware of their articulators (lips, tongue, jaw, etc.), they turn more adventurous and enter the realm of “cooing” or the elongated vowels “aaaa”, “oooo”. Then they go on with their wonderful sound adventure and try babbling “baba” or “bagada”.
Further down their journey, they embark on jargons or the seemingly invented words like “Dog bagodee bone” and first word “mama”, “papa”. It is enriching especially for parents to witness these speech steps.
“The interaction between infants and their caregivers lays so many foundations for later learning.” (McLaughlin, 1998)
The basic foundation of speech is most important in the development of a child. Thus, it is extremely crucial for adults to provide as much opportunities for children to learn. Here are some ways on how you can let a child create noise and exciting sounds, developing the early stages of speech!
When spending time with your child, try to sound more energised and fun! This will most likely catch their attention instead of a flat, mono tone or robotic manner.
Example, when reading a book such as the Three Little Pigs, vary your voice according to the characters— loud voice for the wolf, soft voice for the mother pig and fast speech rate for the pigs. Think of it as making an animated movie and you are doing a voice-over of all the characters!
Along with vocabulary building, songs are also rich in speech sounds. While singing, your child also learns the pitch, loudness and rate of speech. Your child will surely enjoy learning and listening to a melodic song rather than a monotonous one. Expose your child to various songs such as Wheels on the Bus, ABCs and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! Let your child fill in missing parts by pausing. Tapping the table or playing a musical instrument will add excitement too!
“Happy birthday to….you!” ; “The horn on the bus goes….beep beep”
The horn on the bus (slow paced, soft voice) go BEEP! BEEP! (fast, loud and low voice)
The babies in the bus (slow, soft voice) go WAAH! WAAH! (fast, loud and high voice)
Movement games will surely bring expressions and sounds! Providing various situations elicit different responses (smile, frown, startle) and sounds (laughter, grunt, whine).
Tickling will bring a bright smile, giggle and words such as “more”, “stop”, “wee”.
Playing hide and seek will let your child laugh, scream and say “boo”, “mama”, “papa”, “hello”.
Annoying your child by putting face paint or sprinkling water on the face will bring about the resonating grunts and shrieks!
During the early stages of developing speech, attention getting and fun sounds are among the initial ones observed. Do you have animal stuffed toys that has been collecting dusts in the cupboard? Start bringing out those adorable and fun toys!
Animals: dog (aw/woof), cat (meow), snake (sssss), cow (moo), sheep (baa), goat (meh)
Vehicles: airplane (ahhh), car (brrr, beep), bird (tweet), boat (put), train (choo choo), fire truck (wee-oh)
Actions: eat (yum), slide (wee)
Emotions: surprised (wow), pain or accident (uh oh, aw)
While making fun sounds, move your face closer and let your child feel the vibration on your face (neck, lips, nose) especially as you say the vowels such as “ah”, “oo”, “ee” and consonants such as “m”, “p”, “b”, “s”, “h”, “y”. In addition to hearing and feeling the sounds, let them see too! Seeing themselves in action will increase their awareness on the functions of the lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, etc. You may play in front of a big mirror where both you and your child can see your actions at the same time. Perform different facial movements (smile, stick out the tongue, kiss, blow) and sounds (sing, play with toys, imitation games, use horns).
Old MacDonald had a farm “E-I-E-I-O” (Show your child how your lips smile for E-I and round for O. Let your child feel the vibration on your neck as you say the vowels.)
With a “MOO MOO” here (Let your child feel the vibrating movement on your nose for M)
With a “BAA BAA” here (Let your child feel the quick flow of air released when you say B)
Always get your camera in ready. Smartphones and tablets are so handy you can practically videotape anything. Make recordings of your child and let him/her watch segments of your interactions and play. This will provide immediate feedback of the actions he/she just did.
If you have other exciting ideas or stories, kindly share it in the comments section below. We surely would love to hear more!
McLeod, S., & Bleile, K. (2003, November). Neurological and developmental foundations of speech acquisition. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/pdf/docs/ASHA03McLeodBleile.pdf