Few weeks ago, I was asked by a beautiful mama a really good question: How did you help your daughter talk while you’re a working mom?
We had a good chat and made me think, why not writing all about it.
As a working mom that leaves home at 8:00 am and comes back at 6:00 pm, I was concerned about my daughter’s speech skills and always thought about things that would teach her new words everyday. When she was first born, for the first 6 months, we had my mom and mother-in-law take turns visiting us and then we got a nanny. The nanny wasn’t superb in English and knows nothing about Arabic (our native tongue) so I needed something that makes my daughter grasp knowledge. The nursery was a later option for us as we were advised by so many people not to enroll her before she’s at least 2 years old (and this would be a different post 🙂 ). So I was left with few options that really helped my daughter learn, talk and increase her word count at an early age.
I’ll try keeping it short and leave you with the things that helped my daughter develop her talking skills :).
- Television & IPad: Yes, Yes!! I know lots of you won’t agree with this but i’m a realistic person and let’s face it: My daughter had to sit with the same face for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. No matter what our nanny talks to her, it is still not enough. So, we limited the time and list that she can watch and started with choosing songs that teach alphabets, colors, shapes and numbers. Also, we allowed few episodes of Barney as he was her first crush :D.
- Puzzles: At a young age, I introduced puzzles to my daughter. For sure she didn’t show too much interest at first other than biting them (we always chose wooden ones and big pieces). Then I asked our nanny to keep the puzzles within her reach and every week or 2 change it and introduce a new one. I also asked her that whenever my daughter lays her hands on any piece, speak out what that piece says. We got the ABC, the numbers, shapes, colors & animals. At the age of 1 year and 2 months, my daughter was able to fix the ABC puzzle on her own without a single miss and 2, 3 weeks later she was able to speak them out.
- Bedtime Stories: I started reading for Ghazal at a very young age and always repeated the same story until I know she got it and starts reacting and showing that she knows what’s coming next. Then it’ll be time to introdue a new one.
- Musical Mats & Toys: Their are lots of toys and mats out their that sing, interact and talk. We got Ghazal a Mickey Mouse mat that sings different songs whenever you press or step on certain areas. We also got another mat as a gift that counts steps from 1 to 10. These mats helped my daughter move forward as well ;). We also received Dora’s guitar and back pack as gifts. These 2 also talk and sing.
- Musical/Talking Stories: We had few of these as well that have big buttons (can be pressed by little fingers) and imitate animal sounds or speak up words that rhyme.
- Talk to your child: When you are a working mommy like me, I know how hard it is to come back from work after a long day and have energy to talk or get involved in anything. But I also know that these little creatures will make you forget that you’re tired and i’m sure you love to spend your time with.Talking to your babies is very important even at a young age. I used to tell my daughter what we’re doing every time we change a diaper, take a bath, prepare her milk… You might sound crazy at the beginning talking to someone who seems not too much engaged but believe me they’re listening to every single word you’re saying and they’ll surprise you once they’re ready by bursting out what you invested in them ;).
As I always say, don’t compare your babies with others. Don’t even compare between your own babies. Each child will develop at his own pace. Each child is different. Just give them the time they need.
To me for example, what worked with my daughter, didn’t work with my son. For instance I can’t read him a bed time story as his sleeping rituals are hard & different than how his sister slept. He also won’t sit and play with toys his sister used to play with at the same age. And guess what, I don’t panic. He will show interest in something he likes sooner or later. He’ll grasp things from his sister as well and once he’s ready he’ll show us that he was learning. It can be now but it can also be later.
Mommies, an advice from a mama who dealt and still dealing with both: a very early learner and a slightly slow one: Don’t ever compare and panic; you’ll get tired and stressed out and send the same pressure to your baby.
Would love to hear your back from you and know how you helped your little ones develop their speech skills <3.