Speak and Be Spoken To

Language

Babies are like sponges. They absorb the sounds of their language by hearing you speak it to them. Did you know that when your baby coos, that they are communicating with you? Baby babbling, although wordless, is actually the babbling of a particular language. For example, at one year of age, Italian babies babble differently from Chinese babies.

The more that you talk to your baby, they more language they hear and the more words they will learn.

Here are some tips and techniques for developing language with your baby:

  • Start talking to your baby as soon as possible.
  • Respond to cries as if they are words, saying what you think they mean and answering by meeting the need that they are expressing.
  • Look at books with your baby and talk about the pictures. Read books out loud to your baby, even while they are in the womb.
  • Tell you baby in words what you are doing with them and for them.
  • Call your baby by his name right from birth.
  • Think of your baby as your companion and chat to him calmly and comfortably.
  • Use certain key baby words consistently, such as “night-night”, “bye-bye” and “mama”.
  • Describe what you notice your baby is looking at.
  • Repeat back to your baby his babbling sounds as if you are having a conversation, pausing for them to take a turn.
  • Recite some of your favourite nursery rhymes.
  • Avoid background noise when you communicate with your baby – especially TV or radio.
  • When your baby makes their own sounds, let them see that you are listening by being attentive and responding in words. Show then that when they talk, you listen.
  • Wear your baby in a carrier, or hold them, as much as possible. They will feel more secure, which enhances their learning, and they will hear much more spoken language when they are with you.

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