Why is it hard to talk to babies? One reason is they don’t use words to talk back. Talking to a baby feels a little bit off, like I am talking to myself. I have a hard time seeing the ways babies do talk back. They don’t use words. They smile, scream, fuss, look me in the eye, or kick and wave their hands wildly. I must remind myself that until I give my babies’ brain cells for language thousands of words, I must listen to their body language.
Babies are born with the most brain cells for learning language that they will ever have in their lifetimes. However, they begin to lose those cells they don’t use when they are very young. Children use the brain cells their mamas ask them to use. “More?” or “Do you want more hot oatmeal with honey on it?” It doesn’t take more time, just more words.
This blog is about a thousand ways to remind ourselves to say thousands of words to our babies so that they will grow up to have big vocabularies. In the future, it will be more important than ever to have a big vocabulary. In most workplaces the person with the biggest vocabulary is the boss. I want my grandbabies to grow up to be the boss. You too? Let’s figure this out together.
Dr. Dana Suskind, a surgeon whose specialty is cochlear implants which make deaf children hear, says that the #1 most important thing a mom can do is to have conversations with her child. Talking with a grownup is how children learn words. The more words children know the smarter they will be in school.