It is a very exciting time when your baby begins to speak actual words. From a very early age, your child will find some words that become very important to her.
Perhaps one of the most powerful words she learns is “no” and one you are likely to hear many, many times during the coming years. Actually it is a very powerful word.
A different kind of power word is one of the earliest words you hear. That is the word “Hi.” To really understand the power of this word you need to see the young baby responding to someone who says “Hi” to her. She smiles, says it again, and the other person smiles too. Babies draw people to them because of this little word.
At about this same level words such as “mama,” “papa” and bye-bye” are some of the first words you hear, but they are also power words. We all get excited when she uses these new words. Many parents remember exactly when their child first called them “mama” or “papa.”
Another word you will hear multiple times in multiple forms is “more.” At first it can sound a bit different, but you will soon learn to recognize it. Young children love the activities that happen repetitively. Things often happen again when they learn the word “more.” That certainly makes this a powerful word.
Harnessing their words
A word that comes a bit later but is also a powerful word is “my” or “mine.” This usually is heard when she is holding on to something such as “my dolly” or “my cookie.” It is one of the earliest words that express ownership. This is frequently the beginning of jealousy over objects between siblings. The power of this word is clear when you hear it spoken repeatedly.
Waiting is another skill a young child has difficulty handling. Their power word to counteract this wait time is “now.” This doesn’t always get the immediate results the young child wants, but it can help. It certainly does make parents move.
Another powerful word that gets a child results is the word “pee-pee.” Maybe your child says “potty or wee-wee or hungry,” but they all mean she needs some help and parents drop whatever they are doing and come to see what their young child needs. That is certainly powerful.
Each of us needs to be excited as we find these powerful words being used. Actually, we need to be excited about the progress your child makes in every area. Your excitement lets your child know she is heading the right direction. It makes her proud of what she is doing and learning.
Take the time to encourage her learning by talking with her. Talk with her when you are driving. Just because she is in the back seat it doesn’t mean you don’t talk. She wants to be like you so when you use words, it encourages her to try to use the same words.
Learning all these new words helps open up the world to her. You are teaching her another lesson.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach current First Teacher Executive Director Nicole Brewer, email nicole@first teacher.org or call 360-681-2250.