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September 26, 2018

How to get your child to speak right

Any person who is a parent can attest to the fact that there is nothing quite as interesting as listening to your child when they first begin to talk. It is like a whole new persona opens up. Baby Thayu was like his name, peaceful.

He spent most of his first few months asleep in his little cradle. As he learns to talk however that has changed, being vocal seems to have empowered him to make his desires known. Take for instance when he wakes up, the first thing he does is call out the nanny’s name on the top of his lungs. Even if she is on the other side of the house she can hear him yell out “Arole (Carole) beba saa hii saa hii.” It is amazing the vocabulary he has picked up considering he is only 20 months old.

I must say I have come a long way since Tj. When he first began to speak I was convinced he had a speech problem, he started talking fine and then after a while he seemed to stutter as his words come out slower than he could create them in his head. He also mixed up his ‘d’ and ‘b’. Thayu also mixes his ‘f’ and ‘b’ and will request for his “Bood” at lunch time and his “bather” at bed time. But after Toriah I can live with that. Toriah exchanged his ‘th’ sound with ‘f’ so he would say things like “fere’s mom” or call my friend Faith, Faif. That was okay, even cute, but you can imagine how traumatising it was whenever he wanted to tell someone thank you.

The thing about a child beginning to talk though is that as a parent you need to be diligent to ensure that he or she picks up the right speaking habits both in terms of content and also structure. Many a parents have been appalled by the propensity in which their little darling can pick bad language. I remember the first time the boys used a naughty word, I was appalled. Where did they learn to speak like that from? After a spanking I forbade them to ever use such a word again. Unfortunately we all know that some habits are difficult to kick, so one day we are seated with one of them and he used the naughty word in panic he turned to the other brother, “stop it, bad word, bad word.” Clearly he had learnt that bad words have consequences and they are not always pleasant.

As I enjoy this phase of my child’s development at the back of my mind I need to remember that as a parent I play a vital role in my child’s language development and therefore his communication skills. I need to be diligent in ensuring that not only does he speak in a way that is socially acceptable but that he develops a wide vocabulary range and speaks whatever language with the skill it deserves. That means I too must make an effort to speak well and speak right for we all know that at this age most learning is not what is said but what is seen and emulated.

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