Now if there is something that is very unsettling for any parent, it is seeing their child delay in developmental stages. Especially talking. Well, this is the situation that I found myself in with my second born. At the age of 2 years the boy could only say one word ‘baba’ while most baby developmental milestones show that they should have mastered at least 200 words.
While other kids in our local church was busily chatting away and singing, he still couldn’t get the syllables right.
Well, there was one consolation after the other. Like someone telling me that boys are kinda slow and that he would catch up at his own time. Another one from sister was that even Albert Einstein stayed upto 4 years before he was able to utter any word. And so I should not get worried.
But despite everything, I was still scared stiff. I wanted him to talk. I wanted him to interact verbally with me as well as the other family members. And then it dawned on me that I was not making any considerable steps to help him talk.
It is then that I took up a speech therapy bootcamp with him and these are the things I gathered:
- Reduce screen time
One of the biggest mistake that I was making and I am sure so many other young parents are making in these technological times, it is leaving the boy to screen time. While I thought that I was doing him good by leaving him to learn nursery rhymes like the baby shark do do do songs from the Internet, I was not doing him any good. He only became addicted to it and would not utter any word.
Increased screen time has been found to be correlated to speech delay in toddlers. In fact WHO suggests that kids below 24 months should have zero screen time while those between 2 to 5 years should have a limited screen time of not more than 1 hour per day.
Rather than leave them to tablets, smartphones and the TV, you would better be playing with them. Sing those baby shark do do do songs with them instead of having them watch it.
- One word before we go to string of sentences
In speech therapy they say that before you tuck your toddler in bed, your head should be aching for repeating the same syllables over and over. You got to do it if they are to learn. So just start out with one word sentences and build up from there once they have mastered those words.
- Having him express himself verbally when he needed anything
One more mistake that I was making contributing to his late-talking was placing everything be it milk, toys and food at his convenience. So he never had to ask for anything since they were at his disposal.
Experts say this is not good.
Let the baby see the need to express themselves verbally whenever they need anything.