Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Moo Baa La: How Animal Sounds Can Help Your Child Talk
Yesterday, I wrote a post about speech sound development in children. In it, I discussed which speech sounds are easiest for young children (vowels, p, m, h, n, w, b, t, d) and which syllable shapes tend to come first in speech development (CV = consonant-vowel). Combine the two and you get...animal sounds! Moo. Baa. Neigh. Meow. All easy, all fun, and all powerful ways to help a young child start talking.
Once you realize the power of animal sounds, it's easy to integrate them into your day to help your little one start mooing, too. You can simply make the sound when you see an animal. You can say the word, too, of course (Cow! Moo! The sillier you make the sound, the better!). Do this while looking at books, coloring pictures, watching TV, or just playing around. If you have little animal toy figures around the house, you can pair your actions with words by making the animal walk while saying the animal sound repeatedly. Your child is likely to follow both your actions and your words when you put them both together. You might also want to learn the sign for each animal and do the sign while you say the sound-- again, the power lies in giving your child both an action to imitate and a sound that goes with it.
What's more, animal sounds are readily present in a number of repetitive books and songs. Old MacDonald, of course, is an oldy (pardon the pun) but a goody. And Sandra Boynton has a great book entitled Moo Baa La La La that many kids love to read.
Although animals sounds might not seem like actual words, they can help children learn to associate a simple sound with an actual object or picture. Because the sounds are easy to say, children are more likely to imitate them. This success, in turn, helps them make the jump to 'real' words. So don't hold back: moo, baa, and neigh away!