Updated: May 26, 2020
When we had our first daughter, my husband would say gibberish to her and while it seemed cute, I always wondered why he was imitating her gibberish. She was exploring her vocal cords and learning syllabus. Shouldn’t we be teaching her how to speak instead of “Goo-goo gaa-gaa-ing” back to her?
“Are you sure she understands?” my husband asked incredulously.
“Yes, kids understand more than we give them credit for.”
He started to speak to her. It was interesting to see how this man of few words struggled initially.
“What do I say?” he asked looking at her.
Engage with her eyes. Look at her and let her know you are communicating with her.
Share about your day. “You can tell her how your day went. How you felt when something particular happened. How you feel about the same occurance now. What you intend to do.”
Share about what you are currently doing with her. If you are carrying her from the bed to the cot or bathing her or changing her clothes. Describe what you are doing. “I am changing you into this soft pyjamas to keep you warm through the night.”
Ask questions. “Do you like this pyjamas?”
Listen for her answers. It could be a syllabus, a smile, a frown. Its us who need to look out for their communication.
Walk around (with her) and share what is happening. “Mommy is washing the dishes. That man is walking his dog.”
Walk around (with her) and introduce her to the many things around. “This is a kettle, we use it to boil water so we can make warm milk for you. This is an orange.”
Where possible, let them touch the objects because children ‘see’ through their senses. I let them put selected objects in their mouth to get a ‘feel’ too.
Share with her your thoughts on anything/everything. Politics. Your favourite music, books, hobbies.
Finally, share with her about your emotions. How you are FEELING. This is perfect in getting the parent n touch with our emotions in the now and therapeutic.
Over the next few weeks and months, I watched as my husband began to bond with my daughter. His sentences became longer and what started off as awkward became something he enjoyed.
I loved how his vocabulary expanded and how he was sharing more with me. How more in touch he was with his feelings, all because he choose to connect with our little one.
You do not have to be chattering every moment. This is a guide for those who are at a lost for words. Silence is something I love too. The quietness of the house brings about a blissful peace. Switch the TV off so the child can learn to hear the natural sounds of the bird chirping, the cars outside, the cupboard opening.
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