10 Words to Teach Baby

You know that moment in motherhood when it looks like your baby is actually looking at you? Focusing on your face, your mouth, perhaps even locking eyes for that brief second. It happens before they’re 3 months of age, and oh does it feel glorious.

From the moment babies are born, their brains begin to decode language. By 3 months, they’re cooing and using those magical vowels. I have this incredibly vivid memory of my first born’s early coos. It actually sounded a bit more like a pterodactyl call… but it was beautiful to me.

The babbling follows shortly after (and of course it’s always “Dada” first) and then… those precious first words. My kid’s first word was “cheese,” so not sure if I actually have the clout to write the rest of this blog. But here goes….

How to Teach Baby First Words

Babies are fascinated by you. It’s true… makes you feel kind of like a champion Mom when you can get your babe to smile with a big “Hellllloooo!!!!” face. And as they watch you, yes you…. they’re gathering tons of information from looking at the way your mouth moves, your eyebrows raise and beginning to understand social and pragmatic cues. For instance, Mom is happy when her yes are bright, Mom is serious when she's looking away.

Since they’re watching your face and your mouth as you talk to them, exaggerating sounds will help show baby how to talk. Sounds that are made with your lips, like “m,” “p,” and “b” are easy for baby to see.  Teaching words that have “visual sounds” are often the first words that baby says.

Even more important is teaching verbs to baby, not just nouns. Using verbs in your daily chatter will help give function and meaning to the word, which makes learning more salient. More simply, hearing what an object does helps a baby to learn what it is.

So … my list of favorite 10 words to teach baby are words that have function and also words that are visual (or have sounds that you can see).

*Notice that “cheese” is not included on this list — but sometimes, food is an incredible motivator ;o)

Top 10 Words to Teach Baby

  • Mama/Dada
  • Baby
  • More
  • All-done
  • Up
  • Open
  • Hello/Bye Bye
  • Uh-oh
  • Eat
  • Wash

If you're into baby signs, you can learn all of these signs in Week 3 of Baby School. So now I want to hear from you... what was your baby's first word??


2 thoughts on “10 Words to Teach Baby

  1. At 6 months old baby learned to says, Papa, Dada, Titi, Cat, hi, and apple. She loves the Abc song and she just learned to clap her hands. ? But of course, when I try to show people she just looks at me like my crazy. Lol

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