[6 months +]

After you have been through My first vocab list , start taking a look at this next list.  Has your baby shown interest in any of these items or actions?  If they have, then definitely get onto naming them and of course, using your hands to help them understand which word you are talking about.  For example, do the natural gesture for ‘phone’ or ‘spoon’.  If you haven’t already, take a look at Do I get on this ‘baby sign’ band wagon or not? which will hopefully inspire you to use natural gesture and maybe even look up a sign or two at www.auslan.org.au.

Remember, understanding comes before talking or signing.  So the words on this list are there for YOU to be saying to your child without any expectation for them to copy you back for a fair while.  Particularly if you are starting to model these words when your baby is just starting to take notice of these things.  Once you can safely say yes they definitely know what a particular word means, only then would you start wondering if they might say it/sign it.

Okay, so here is the next vocabulary list to think about!

  • stop/go – these are almost always ideal to be taught together. For example, stop/go tickles, swing, spinning in your arms, cause effect toys.  Natural gesture or look at www.auslan.org.au for ‘go’ sign
  • keys/door handle/remote control/door – all of these can be attractive to little ones, especially those that like to ‘figure things out’.  They might not be meant for them, but still give them the word anyway.  We shortened ‘remote control’ to ‘remote’
  • phone – a natural gesture could be your baby’s first ‘sign’
  • bird/dog/cat – the family pet.  Although it might be strange, it is good to teach your child the animal name first, before confusing them with the pet’s name.  Once they have seen say other ‘dogs’, then you could start defining your pet’s real name.
  • hello/bye bye – ‘bye bye’ gets taught without thinking, but do you always remember to model ‘hello/hi’?
  • hug/kiss –  A fun game – ‘hug’ (hug them), ‘kiss’ (kiss them’, ‘hug’, ‘hug’, ‘kiss’, ‘hug’
  • significant others, including daycare staff – you will need to name each person whilst the person is standing there
  • no – use this when the ‘testing’ behaviours come in! ‘yes’ doesn’t really factor for a little bit longer
  • clap – use your hands to show!
  • sit – each time you put your child into sitting, you can name this action
  • lie down – another early action – at nappy change time or sleep time or just playing then say before floating in swimming
  • walk – does your child know what on earth they are doing when they take steps? Say ‘walk’ to give them a word for it!
  • help – when your baby looks to you for ‘help’, give them a word (and even a sign)
  • more – at mealtimes, cause effect toys, bubbles, swing etc – don’t give more without the word!
  • cup/bottle/spoon/high chair – it’s easy to use these day in day out and forget to give your child a word for these (they might not be as interested in the bowl for awhile but why not label that too?)
  • pram/stroller – again, one you can forget easily but is used regularly
  • play – define play as say when you put your baby onto the floor and use a few toys to show them ‘play’. This can then be used ‘eat then play’, ‘home then play’.  You could alternatively use the phrase ‘time for play’
  • sleep – define when you put them into the cot or even in preparation as ‘time for sleep’
  • poo – recognised before ‘wee’, mostly because we don’t notice them weeing
  • cereal – why not name their breakfast – a generic term is good at first
  • milk – breastfeed, formula or even if they take notice of it in their cereal
  • sandwich/toast – easier to learn a specific food before ‘lunch’/’breakfast’ etc
  • yoghurt – or other main snack
  • swimming – remember to name at the pool and also in the pool
  • kick/paddle – you should be saying the word as you show them the action
  • find the wall/get out – hopefully you are using these terms as you help your little one to the side so if something ever happened, they would understand someone saying these words to them
  • rain – on the windscreen and take them out to experience a few drops and to link in ‘incy wincy spider’
  • come – do as many natural gestures as you need!
sit! play!

sit! play!

Once your child understands all of the words from these first two vocabulary lists, you will realise pretty much every main part of their day you will now be able to talk to them about.  And all of this talking helps them to understand what is happening in their day (say when you’re waiting in line at Medicare), gives you a way to distract them (look bird!) or keep them in the loop with the next activity in the day.  All before they are 12 months old!  And this leads to the snowball effect of communication development where the more you interact with them, the more they learn and interact with you, which causes you to interact with them more!  And the brain develops plenty of fantastic neural pathways 🙂

For example:

– cereal.. finished cereal.. bye bye

– high chair then eat

– wait!! mummy change nappy… then finished…look fan..and light

– say byebye nanna….kiss

– hello bird!

– hat on.. then swing

– mummy and Jake wait.. look clock!

– go in car… to shops

– Daddy come home… in car… broom broom

– car..take Lisa daycare

One idea is to print these two vocab lists and pin them to your fridge to remind everyone in the house the words to focus on and to then use them to your advantage when your little one does understand them.  Try not to use too many words in between the vocabulary words at first.  It’s better to leave a pause than to add more words (for example, ‘go in car…to shops’, instead of ‘we’re going in the car to the shops’).  Talking like this takes practice so the sooner you start the better you will get at doing it!

If you are reading this and realising your baby has already learnt most of these, you will realise how quickly this period of learning these words can come and go.  All babies will learn to understand and then use these words, even without your specific help.  But remember, when learning a second language, it is always MUCH easier to learn new words when:

  • someone takes the time to teach you single words, whilst using their hands to convey more meaning
  • repeats the words often to save your brain doing all the work
  • acknowledges you when you have looked at/pointed to/found the item they just said
  • acknowledges you when you have said the correct word in the correct situation

For more information on the concept of teaching words to a baby is like learning another language, take a look at Getting thrown into a new language is not easy.

Otherwise, please pass this onto anyone you know that has a child under 12 months!

🙂 Remember to check out I raise my kids on facebook where many more posts are put up there! 🙂