How Babies Learn To Speak
We are so delighted when our precious little bundle begins to mimic speech! The first sounds are often “ma-ma”, no matter what language is spoken in the home. We laugh and clap our hands and urge the baby to make that sound again and again. If Baby says “ga-ga”, we don’t get so excited, so the baby doesn’t keep saying “ga-ga”.
It is not uncommon for fathers to feel a little slighted, until the baby starts to babble “dada”. This, of course, is met with smiles and claps and happy faces, all of which encourages Baby to make those same sounds again – and that is how language is learned. But often, the next word baby learns to make is “no!”. And from then on, it is “no!” to everything. Day in, day out.
When “No!” Is All You Ever Hear
You try to feed your little one strained green beans or spinach, he obstinately shakes his head and proclaims firmly, “No!” You take his hand so you can cross the street, but he struggles to get free and again tells you, “No!” As you help him dress, it’s “No!” You tell him it’s bath time, and he says “no!” Sometimes you find yourself thinking that life was easier before your baby learned to talk!
It may not seem funny now, but I think this is adorable. Saying “no!” and being contrary are what toddlers do. From about twelve months up to nearly thirty months, the young child is discovering the power of language. He is learning to communicate his needs, his wants, and his desires. This can be an exhilarating time for him. But it can also be very scary. At some point, when he says “no!”, his mommy and daddy are going to react with anger – and he will not understand why. That will lead to the classic temper tantrum. When the child’s emotions are so strong, yet his ability to communicate is limited, he has no other way to react than to explode.
Tantrums May Be Caused By Limited Language Skills
You can moderate or eliminate temper tantrums by helping your young child develop the language skills necessary to communicate his needs clearly. You can also help by being consistent. Be calm, yet gentle and firm, when dealing with your often bewildering young child. If, one day he tells you “no!” and you laugh, but the next time he uses that word and you scold, you will confuse him. We are only human! Sometimes it is impossible not to laugh at the things that come out of our children’s mouths! But the more consistent you can be, the happier your child will be.
Removing the Power of “No!”
There are several ways to limit the power of this word in your child’s vocabulary. The first is, try not to use the word yourself! Try to not say “no” to her for a long time – weeks, if possible. If she reaches for something hot, you might make a sound, like – “uh uh!” Otherwise, you can turn your negatives into positives. Instead of “No, don’t hit!” you could take her hand and smile and say, “Hands are for loving touches”. Then put her hand on your cheek, make it pat your cheek gently, and say “Nice Mommy” and smile.
If she throws her food on the floor, instead of scolding “no!”, you could just simply take the hint. Remove the food from her reach, take her out of her high chair, and DO NOT let her eat until the next meal. It’s almost a guarantee that at the next meal she will be too hungry to throw her food.Another thing you can try, is DO NOT REACT when she says “no”. Don’t smile, don’t scold, don’t do a thing. You are communicating to her through your reactions. If she gets no reaction at all, she will stop saying that and find a different word to use.
Save the Memories
Enjoy your little one. And take a picture of him saying “no no!” to add to your photo album. One day you are going to want to remember this, and how precious he was, once upon a time.