Papa Talk – Talk to Your Children Like They Were Adults

Recently, I had gone out shopping with my wife, our 18-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.

We had an interesting afternoon at the new Acacia mall – with me mostly trying to keep pace with my son’s energetic dashes as he tried to give me the slip. The ‘girls’ mostly did the shopping. As we later headed home, the girls suggested we make another shopping stop-over at Nakumatt Bukoto to pick what hadn’t been available at Acacia.

I wasn’t up to round-two shopping, so I decided to remain in the car. Surprisingly, Saqeeb, our son, elected to stay with me. After the routine questions on whatever caught his eye out in the open, he suddenly reached out with his little hand and turned the radio volume a little lower. I raised my eyebrows and inquired why he had done that.

“How else can we talk?” came his reply. I couldn’t believe my ears. Did he just say that? That was so adult-like. Aren’t kids given to just competing with the sounds around them in their endeavour to speak?

“Okkkay!” I retorted, all bewildered. “Let’s hear what you have to say.”

He then plunged into one of his usual do-it-yourself animal kingdom fairytales that he so relishes. For a while after the incident, I couldn’t help but wonder whence his action stemmed. But I’ve now realised it probably came from the way we have always talked to him like he was just another adult, right from his baby days.

Child development experts recommend talking to your baby as you go about your day, teaching them about their surroundings in a natural way. Amy Peterson, a mother of four living in Oregon, USA, believes toddlers soak up language and can learn new words every day.

“I firmly believe that because my children were spoken to in a regular [way] most of the time, they learnt how to talk and express needs,” she says while writing on, a website that deals in family issues. She observes that empowering children with language empowers them to ask for things they need, like water, food and hugs.

“For me, the biggest benefit of talking to my kids like adults is that I interact with them better when things aren’t going well. I find my children are able to reason better when I speak to them in this way. When my daughter doesn’t want her shoes on, we can discuss which ones she wants to wear and why,” says Patterson. She aises that as baby begins to crawl, walk and tries to talk, consider speaking to them more like a grown-up.

Saqeeb is the only infant in our household and as much as possible the adults try to talk and communicate with him as they would another adult. That way we have noticed that he has had a gradual capacity to decipher signals that one would imagine was for adults. He recently amazed us when he took a plastic ring to his mother and asked her to marry him!

Are you a father? What have you learnt or discovered about your youngsters and parenting? Share joys, trials, challenges, successes. Send them in 500 words to

Source : The Observer

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The Disability Law and Rights Centre (DLRC), School of Law, Makerere University with support from
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