Friday, February 27, 2009

Keep Talking: Part 1

When babies are small or have a delay in speaking it is often hard to keep up a conversation with them - who wants to talk to themselves? As hard as it may be - talking with your preemie is essential for language development.

Here are some tips to help get you talking:

1) Toys - talk about the toys or other things that your preemie is interested in. Name the toy and narrate what you and your preemie are doing with it. Look this is a farm. The sheep says "baaa." The sheep is going to go and eat. And look, here is the pig. He says oink, oink. And on and on.

2) Routines - narrate the routines in your preemie's life. As you get him/her dressed, change a diaper or play together talk about what is happening.

3) Repeat, repeat - studies have shown that when kids hear the same word over and over again, they are better able to learn and speak the words. So try saying a word as many times as possible over the course of a few minutes. For example: look at that red car. The car is going fast. Cars say vroom, vroom. Our car is blue. A car has a horn, etc."

4) Slow down - when you speak to your preemie try and slow down. Adults often talk very fast and that can be hard for a preemie to understand. I've been focusing on action words for my daughter (i.e. down, up, in, out, etc). When I ask Olivia something I say "Can we put that in?" with special emphasis on in. It's really helped her to understand and sometimes imitate those words

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