Stop speech delay with purposeful play and Montessori toys
The first moments in my baby’s life were not silent. There were beeping machines, family’s voices and then a loud, excited greeting to the world.
Then she replied with a cry. The very first sound she made that I’ll never forget.
This is our baby’s first form of verbal communication with us.
For months, years even, they will continue to “talk” in cries.
Moms, we’ve heard it enough to know the difference between an “I’m hungry” cry and a “This toy is soooo frustrating” cry.
This is a special conversation that will stay between moms and babies.
As they say, time flies so fast. Their cries will soon transform into a voice.
I know how exciting it is to hear their first words. But before reaching that glorious moment, we have some work to do.
Communication, verbal or non-verbal, is essential part of baby brain development.
Communication is a skill. Like any other skills, it has to be nurtured and developed.
It is simple as 4 letter word – PLAY!
Play boosts the development of baby brains in many aspects, and spoken language is no exception!
Choosing the right baby sensory toys will help them move smoothly from one milestone to another.
Key Takeaway: Communication is a skills that needs nurturing to fully develop.
Milestone checklist for baby language development
The first three years of life is a period of rapid brain development. This is the time we can see big changes in our babies’ ability to communicate.
At 0-12 months, your baby will go from cooing to finally saying their first word. During this time, you can expect your baby to love babbling vowel sounds in an attempt to converse with you. You should respond too! After all, how will their first word be “mama” if they don’t learn it from you?
At 24 months, after another year, they have collected a lot of new words—enough to make sentences with 2-4 words.
At 36 months, they know the names of people familiar to them and favorite toys or food. They can introduce themselves using their first name, age, and may even name a friend. It says that at this age, their vocabulary size is up to 1,000.
Key Takeaway: 0-36 months is a crucial period for language development. You can support your child through play!
Worried about speech delay? Here are the signs to watch out!
We celebrate the differences in every child. They each have their own strengths and talents in different areas and learn at their own unique pace.
Yet, as parents, we may worries as they continue to grow and develop. One of the most common developmental concerns is speech delay.
Here are few signs you might want to consider talking to your child’s doctor.
At 12 months, if your child…
- Doesn’t look where you point
- Doesn’t respond to own name
- Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
- Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking their head
- Doesn’t point to things
At 24 months, if your child…
- Doesn’t copy actions and words
- Doesn’t follow simple instructions
At 36 months, if your child…
- Doesn’t speak in sentences
- Doesn’t understand simple instructions
Above signs varies from one child to another. But don’t fret, we can still do something as early as now.
Aside from speech therapies, encouraging play and introducing Montessori toys can help.
Wooden blocks, play silk, pretend play like fort building kits and kitchen play for kids will be your essentials.
Key Takeaway: Early intervention is the key to help children with speech delay.
Language-boosting Montessori toys for 0-36 months
The art of teaching babies how to talk is not as direct as one may initially think. This includes repetitions and physical gesture as modeling strategies.
That may sound boring way of teaching, but who said it couldn’t be fun?
With these Montessori toys, not only the verbal communication will be improved but the overall baby brain development.
Play silk. The bright colors and flowy movement of the silk can hold their attention as you talk to them and engage in their responsive cooing.
- Hang the play silk over your baby and let your baby enjoy the colorful show! Play with color names by elongating the “oo” sound in “Blue” or repeating the “B” sound and going “Bah, bah, blue.”
- Tummy time can also be super fun as babies crawl and reach for the play silk. Encourage talking by being an enthusiastic spectator. Practice vowel sounds when you say a longer “Wow” or “Great!”
- Peek-a-boo becomes more exciting with the use of play silk! Duck under the colorful sheet and make your baby exclaim over and over (And practice their gurgles and vowels) as they revel in the magic of how you simply disappeared!
- Another fun activity for tummy time is hiding their favorite toys under the play silk. Vocalize questions like “Where?” and babble the name of the toy by going “Teh, teh, teddy!”
Wooden blocks and toys. As staple Montessori toys, they not only encourage mindfulness activities but also boost verbal communication.
- Pretend play with kitchen play set and have Mr. Teddy scoop and gobble up what your toddler has cooked up for the picnic. Baby can copy your mouth movements better if you hold up the toy near your mouth before saying cup, fork, spoon, etc.
- As you stack wooden blocks say a vowel or simple words or numbers. Stacking is also a mindfulness activity that enhances focus and balance.
Fort building kits. One of the best sensory toys for nurturing creativity in children 12 months and up. It enhances vocabulary as they engage in imaginative or pretend play..
- Action words are best learned while performing the movements. Your child can “crawl” under the treehouse-themed fort, “stretch” their arms up to touch the play silk, or “roll” from side to side while inside.
- Just like the play silk and the wooden blocks and toys, the fort building kit takes the stage in pretend and open-ended play. Your child can learn social skills and new words while pretending to be a mighty knight or attending a ball with the fairies.
- Of course, another skill involved in language development is reading, and the fort building kits can be the perfect reading nook. As they enjoy reading, they will easily learn new words which you can explain to them as you read together.
The effectiveness of Montessori toys as a tool for learning lies on how it increases interest and motivation in young children.
Maximize the effect on speech development by being vocal and chatty playmate of your child.
By becoming an engaging player, with the help of Montessori toys, not only communication and social skills will be enhanced, but their full development.
Key Takeaway: Encourage language development by becoming an engaged and vocal playmate while using simple sensory toys.
As parents we only wants the best support for our children during this crucial time of baby brain development, that’s why we keep on learning and exploring as well.
Whether you are worried about some signs listed above, or simply want to support your child, you can take action.
Introduce Montessori toys and mindfulness activities to improve focus, concentration, and even impact their learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts.