My two year old talks a lot. In fact, many people have commented that she "talks so well for her age" or "is so madaldal (talks a lot)". Many are amazed that she can speak straight sentences at her age, that she knows words and terms that not many older kids know, and that she is able to hold a simple conversation with an adult. Some people ask what I did for her to have the kind of vocabulary she has. I honestly think that it she is innately intelligent, but I would like to believe that I also must have done something good for her to be the way she is. Let me share it with you the things we do.
I talked to her as a newborn
And I don't mean baby talk. I would talk to her the way I would talk to a friend or a child of eight. Even if she didn't understand or care just yet, I would take her around the house, point at object, and name the things we see like pillow, window, door, book, etc. Babies seem to not understand but things you say or do enters their unconscious to be awakened when they are ready. It's like teaching a child to swim with the proper form from the very beginning.
I read to her
I was reading to my baby girl from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Even my husband would read to my pregnant belly. Even until now, we spend portions of our day just reading that she has her favorite books already. Reading to your baby stimulates their brain to communicate, listen, and learn vocabulary. It teaches them numbers, letters, colors, shapes, animals and sounds. The more you read to them, the more words the child is exposed to. Continuous reading also encourages them to read on their own and create their own stories.
I sing to her
Likewise with reading, I was singing and playing the ukulele to her even in utero. My husband would be jealous of the bonding I did with her during the day so he would put on a concert for both the baby and me at night. As an infant, I sang all the nursery rhymes I grew up with and those I learned from my sister who is a preschool teacher. Music helps them to remember words, sounds, and actions, as well as teaches early on to sing songs in tune. It also promotes the use of imagination in day to day play.
I let her watch educational videos
I'm going to admit, I'm not one of those moms who restrict their kids from watching TV. I do allot a certain amount of time (30 minutes per day), to watch a few educational videos like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, The Wiggles, and nursery rhymes by Pinkfong and Dave & Ava. We do have our occasional movie time where I let watch Disney movies to expose her to the songs. These shows have helped me to reinforce her love for music, letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. And she has admittedly learned a thing or two about going to the potty, washing hands before eating, and being a good child through some of the videos.
I let her interact with family
My little girl spends a lot of time with her grandmas, sometimes with her older cousins. Each time she returns to me, I notice that she learns something new. Because they too sing and talk to her, teaching her what they know, she is exposed to other songs and ideas that help to open her mind.
Encouraging my little girl to talk as a baby was a very fun journey for us. It was always exciting for me to hear her learn new words. I always enjoy the conversations we have... it's like having a little friend to talk to. Nowadays, even if she talks a lot and can go on for hours talking, I don't stop her. In fact I encourage her to ask questions and keep telling stories to keep her mind active and engaged. Now, getting her to quiet down at mass or in the plane is a different story...