I was hired to baby-sit a 7-month old baby twice a week for a total of 12 hours. The parents really want the child to start learning English and so I play lots of games, sing songs and read some ABC/123 books every time. The baby doesn't say anything (of course). The most I can get from the kid is a laugh and I am seriously knocking myself out just to get that. Last week though the parents told me I talked too fast for their baby to understand and that I was causing the baby anxiety. They also asked me to use fewer words. Should I be speaking slowly? I thought speaking at a normal pace and playing with the baby as if he was a native speaker would be fine for a baby so small. Should I be doing something else?
If they are asking you to concentrate on language rather than all-round development, then:
1. confine what you say to a 7 month old when 'teaching' him to single, or two word sentences at most. This does not mean not to talk in full sentences at any time - only when you are trying to isolate the name for an individual object or action. And yes, even when talking with the baby in the same of a running commentary of what is happening, keep your speech slow. "Yeees. Let's go see mummy in the kitchen. Oooooooh - who's that? Who's that? It's mummy! Mummy!""
2. when he touches something, such as a cup, say 'cup'. If you play pat-a-cake, say 'clap' and 'clap hands'. That is, start naming and using words for actions that are frequently seen/performed.
3. Either picture books of familiar objects, or make up one with pictures from magazines of dogs, cats, items of food, things around the house - then go slowly through the book, pointing at the picture, and saying the name.
4. Same with playing with his fingers, toes, rubbing his tummy, other body parts, and naming them.
Hope that eases your anxiety.
Last edited by David L.; 27-Jun-2008 at 04:43.