Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 281 - Correct Pronunciation

Today's first time parenting tip - Pronounce words correctly and praise your baby, even when he gets it wrong.

Our son is starting to learn his first words, between "uh-oh" and "da-da" you'd think there wasn't anything else to say. He can try other words, but he doesn't quite get them right. Things like a ball are "gall" and kitty ends up more like "tee-tee."

As parents and adults, I think the natural instinct is to say something like "No, it's ball." A better way to say it might be "That's right! It's a ball."

Your child's vocal chords and ability to make different noises is still in the early stages right now. By saying "no" to them, you're implying that they got something wrong in saying a ball was a "gall."

But in fact, he got it 100% right! He doesn't call anything else a "gall", and he always says it when he's bouncing it around. He understands the concept of a ball, but he just can't say the right word

By saying "That's right! It's a ball!" You're praising him for correctly identifying something, and at the same time correcting his pronunciation. As he learns how to make different noises, he'll start to make the correct sounds as you keep teaching him the "right" way to say things without confusing him and his ability to correctly identify concepts.

At the same time, you don't want to say "That's right! It's a 'gall'". This merely reinforces the incorrect pronunciation and you're essentially teaching him that the word for a spherical object is "gall".

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