How to Turn Pouty Raspberries into a Teachable Moment

by Babs Hadjusiewicz February 04, 2014

Your baby's raspberries (lip-blubbering look and sound) or blowing lip bubbles is more than a playful antic; it's an all-important rehearsal in using the lips and tongue to make particular language sounds. Over time and with repeated practice, some of those raspberries and bubbles turn into consonant sounds that begin words you've modeled, like mama, papa, and baby

Raspberries or blowing bubbles can be playful. It can also accompany an unhappy pout. When your baby shows you that blubbery pout, try a distraction and score a teachable moment. 

Begin with your biggest smile, one that says, "Wow! Listen to what you're doing! That's exciting!" Then re-direct your child's attention––and your own––to say: "Oh, you're doing raspberries!" Imitate the antic and say, "Yes, like this!" Watch how your baby's reaction likely changes to a stare or grin. Use words, such as "Doing the raspberries" or "Blowing some bubbles" to give your baby a language tag to associate with this playful interaction

Another time, you might say, "Oh, listen to that! You're learning to say ba-ba-ba and baby baby baby and bubbles bubbles bubbles." Or emphasize and repeat sounds and words like me-me, mommy, monkey; daddy, doggie; da-da-da; pa-papuppy, paper. 

Does it matter which words you say? No. These particular sounds or plosives are about how the tongue and lips handle little explosions of air from the mouth. So the key is to respond with excitement in your baby's accomplishment.   Your words and expression will be admired by your baby.

Positive responses also work well when your tired or bored toddler goes all pouty. Make a game of repeating a fun word or phrase. Your youngster will pay attention to the sounds and the repetition. Here are some fun sound-words or onomatopoeia to get you started: 

He-haw! He-haw! He-haw!
Plink, plank, plunk!
Ker-plunk! Ker-plunk!
Stink, stank, stunk!
Invite your toddler to help you add fun word sounds for the two of you to say. Language development happens all the while!

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


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