Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will then be wondering how you can encourage your one year old to talk.
One of the biggest questions is: will your baby say “mama” or “dada” first?
In a few more months, around 15 months old, your baby will use simple consonant sounds such as “up” and “more”. When your baby reaches 18 months old, there will be no stopping them as they will begin to pick up several new words a day.
One year olds understand a lot more words than you probably think. To encourage them, use gestures such as pointing or waving can really help them. When your one year old points at an object respond with “do you want your cup? Or “Yes, that is a light.” Especially if they are waving, it is easy to incorporate, “Hello”, or “Bye Bye”.
It is very easy to use words that your one year old can say such as “ba ba”. But, you need to focus on using real words to help their speech. As a parent you need to stay one step ahead of your toddler and not talk down at them. The end result will be helping your toddler expand his/her vocabulary.
Take your time
Admittedly I have been here myself, when I have been trying to read Mole a bedtime story, and I rush through the book as quick as possible before she becomes over tired. Change your reading time and take your time with reading to them. Let your one-year-old point as the different pictures in the book and respond to them with what they are pointing at. Pronounce a key word to them several times to let them practice pronouncing it.
When your child can say one word and understand that word well, you can introduce the piggybacking technique. This is where you will expand their one word into two words like this: instead of “dolly” you can say “baby dolly” or instead of “brush” you can say “hair brush”. Doing this will again help them to expand their vocabulary, without overwhelming them with too many new words.
You may already do this without realising. Changing your tone of voice when speaking to your toddler really helps to keep them interested. Mole was very curious of our pet turtle. So for a good 10 minutes whilst we were playing with him, the only word I used was “turtle” but in many different voices. In the end, Mole was able to say “turtle” and understand that was our pet.
If your little one shows interest in something, spend time with them talking about that object. You can show them what it does and repeat what it is called. That way, if they already have an interest in the object, you have already grasped their attention to start learning.