Encouraging Consonants

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If you have been reading Eleanor’s month-by-month updates (here’s her latest one!) then you know that, much to this Speech-Language Pathologist mama’s dismay, she doesn’t feel like using many consonant sounds yet!.
I thought I would share what we are doing at home to encourage these sounds!
Whenever she’s ready to make them…. First, let me just say that it is within the range of normal for my newly-turned 8 month old to not be using many consonant sounds. But since I know, from my professional experience, that some babies DO make these sounds already, I’m doing what I can to encourage them :)

Here are some tips to help encourage those tricky new consonant sounds:

  • Make eye contact. If you are looking at your baby, she will be locking eyes with you. There is no better way to draw her attention to your face and the movements of your lips and tongue for consonant sounds. There is a reason that many of the early sounds are very visual (i.e. you can see the movements needed for them): such as “m”, “b”, “p”.
  • Let her touch, feel, etc. Take advantage of the joint attention between you and your little one. Make sounds while she is looking, and allow her to explore your movements.
  • Start with single syllables such as “ba”, “puh”, and “muh”. Make these sounds over and over, giving her time to think between presentations. I will often see her little tongue or lips moving while I’m making sounds, as though she’s trying to learn them. It is the cutest ever!
  • Start with the very visual sounds such as “m”, “b”, “p”, “d”, and “t”. That way she can watch what you are doing and hear the sounds.
  • Take turns with her when she is making noises and imitate her sounds. If she says “uh-buh” say it back to her. She will figure out that you are repeating what she says, and this encourages her to say even more.
  • Take advantage of a quiet environment with reduced stimuli to play vocally with her. She can concentrate on the sounds that you are making and she is making if there are less distractions.
  • Use songs, nursery rhymes and games to encourage listening. Things such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Pat-A-Cake, and This Little Piggy have great actions and are excellent ways to encourage listening, joint attention, and speech :)
  • Teach everybody else how to encourage consonants too! Bombarding her with sounds from mommy, daddy, grandma, sister, etc. will only help encourage them more!

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Overall, don’t stress about! Keep using all types of speech and language – continue to use other sounds, words, and sentences on a regular basis. And have fun!

Helping my daughter learn and grow is the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life. Enjoy every minute :)

{xoxo}

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