Talk to your Baby to encourage language development: Your baby is just born and few months old. You look at your baby and all you hear is them crying or making funny sound.
You hear or read a lot of advice on talk to your baby and how it helps speeden up language development.
But when you see your baby. You are at loss of words.. You have no clue what to do or how to talk to your baby.
Your mind says that it is a waste of time and you know that your baby is not going to understand anything you say. Leave alone respond to you.
You might be asking your self what is the point?. Or if there is a point. How do I talk to my baby?.
- What is baby Talk
- Why is baby talk important?
- Signs that your baby is communicating to you
- 20 practical ways that will help you talk to your baby
What is baby Talk
Baby talk is a type of speech which happens when you as an adult talk to your baby. It is also the talk that babies talk.
In simple layman’s terms, baby talk is nothing but the loving gibberish that you speak with your baby.
Usually parents indulge in baby talk when they are tending to their baby.
It can be done when they are giving baby a bath or changing their cloths or during any time that you get to spend with your baby.
Why is baby talk important?
The importance of baby talk is numerous. While below I have explained few.
To put it in a short way. More the baby talks the more likely they are better to be than their peers who had less baby talk by the age of 2. Their language development is comparatively higher.
Helps in brain development
We are known that 80% of the child’s brain gets developed during the first 3 years of their life. As the brain grows, they form important connections called synapses. These connections are important to help us think, understand, learn and process information.
When you baby talk to your baby. You are firing up these synapses to develop in the language part of her brain. The more the baby talk, more the words stronger the mental connections will be. This is fundamental for language development.
While we are in the topic of brain development can you guess one another amazing activity that helps brain development (Synapses). Its Boredom. I can bet you did not know this.
If you have not guessed you should read our article on “I AM BORED” – Surprising benefits for kids you did not know about.
Helps in building Good habits
Baby talk also happens when they are reading to their baby or playing with them.
When such activities are enjoyed by your baby. Your baby will relate toreading and playing in a positive way. And this sets the foundation for reading and playing habits as they grow
You may also like to read our article on 25 EASY WAYS TO TEACH KIDS GOOD HABITS. And have an outline of the good habits that every kid should have. This will help you start early.
Helps in increasing vocabulary
You cannot do baby talk with out using words.
When you baby talk you are introducing words to your baby. When you point to objects and mane them you are making your baby relate to the object and the word.
All these help your baby to get introduced to words and thereby increasing their vocabulary and there by aiding language development.
Baby talk is a good way for you to bond with your baby. When you indulge in baby talk you will not only just speak you will also touch and sign to your baby.
You will pay attention to their cues and they will in turn learn by observing you. All this leads to goo bonding between you and your child.
Apart from the benefits mentioned above there are many other psychological benefits that your child reaps.
Benefits such as Self-confidence when their rudimentary ways of communication are acknowledged and responded to.
It reduces anxiety, makes your baby feel loved, makes them feel secured to mane few.
Signs that your baby is communicating to you
When your baby is crying
Your baby is communicating to you from the time he is born. A baby’s first ways of communication is crying.
Babies cry when they are hungry. Babies cry when they are sleepy. They cry when they are uncomfortable. Babies even cry when they are bored.
The most basic and fundamental of communication is crying. and your response to these cries is the first form dialogue that you have with your baby.
Tip: Try to respond in a positive way. And not get irritated by the cries.
Babies communicate though laughter
In few months your baby will start communicating to you through smile and laughter.
This Smiles and laughter do not mean that they understood the joke and they are laughing out of humour. They just laugh to say to you that they are present and involved in your conversation.
My nephew when he was in this stage would just laugh for everything. We as a family would be having a serious conversation and he would still happily sit and laugh every time his mother pics.
When they Babble (the “oohh’s, “aahh’s”, “keekk’s”)
Around 4 to 6 months you will start seeing that your baby starts to babble. They start to make all sorts of sounds like “oohh’s, “aahh”, “keekk”, “Kaa” etc.
Babbling is a fundamental block on which communication and language development is built on.Your response to babbling plays a very important part in developing your child’s communication.
Tip: Don’t ignore it as random sounds but treat babbling as a language and talk back to your child.
When they babble to express thoughts/ feelings.
By now you would have slowly learnt to decode your babbling. When they cross 6 months and over you will also find that there language development is in full swing and they make certain sounds to voice out.
They attempt to voice out their thoughts and feelings.
My niece would use a high pitch “ahh” sound whenever she hears the Cotton Candy Man ring his bell.
I have seen my son use shirking “Eennnn” sound when he sees me reaching out to the shampoo bottle to wash hair.
Tip: Pay attention to their babble. The faster you understand these. You can understand their thoughts and feeling. And you can have better conversation with them.
20 practical ways that will help you talk to your baby
You have heard this many time. And you are going to hear it one more time. Talk to you baby. Just Talk to your baby.
There need not be anything specific. It need not even make sense when you talk. Its ok to talk any random thing with your baby. But the key is that you talk to your baby.
I was in college when I had my first son. I would tell him my answers. He would listen attentively and nod.
Include grown up speech form
Most of the time when we talk to a baby, we tend to talk in baby talk. Yes, we did explain earlier in this article baby talk is important.
However, once in a while it is also important that we talk like we talk to grown-ups.
The reason being the baby will understand the way adult world conversations happen. And the exact pronunciations for the words. This will help in their language development.
Use spontaneous storytelling
Story telling is not be something that you have to sit in a place. Open a book and read to your baby. Get creative. Use your imagination tell them any story that comes to your mind.
Tip: If you are getting stuck. Use this trick of just narrating your day in a story format.
Such as… Once upon a time, when I went outside, I took the bus, I went to a big office, I did lots of good work, I also met my friend after a long time……so on and so forth.
If you are still stuck and wondering what types of story to tell you baby and how. You should read our very trending article STORYTELLING TO KIDS – POPULAR TREND THESE DAY.
Read to your baby
Reach your baby. Read from a book while you have your baby e sitting on a lap. Read slowly use your baby’s fingers to point to the words.
Tip: Make reading a fun activity. An activity that both you and your baby can enjoy. As this forms basis for developing reading habits letter on in life. And helps in language development.
If you like to know more about how to read to your baby and require tips on how to choose a baby book. Read our article HOW TO READ TO A BABY: 7 SIMPLE TECHNIQUES and DO YOU KNOW HOW READING BENEFITS YOUR BABY? respectively.
Make up rhymes
When I say make up rhymes it means use rhyming words. It creates an atmosphere of fun.
You can say words like ‘Twink toes”, Nosy nose”.
Tip: if you are fining this difficult to come up with rhyming words on your own. It is also good if you use or recite the nursery rhymes that we know.
Try to decode and expand their babbles
Instinctively as parents we try to decode children language. We try to find out why they are crying. What they are trying to communicate.
When we do this try also to expand their babbles. For example, if your baby is saying “bo” you can expand by saying “that it corrects. Boook”. If you baby is saying “mi.. mi..” you can expand by saying “Mmmiiilllkkk…”.
You can also try to expand your kid’s nonverbal communication. Such as if you find your baby looking at the potty. You can ask if your baby wants to use it.
If you find your baby looking at a food item you can ask your baby if he wants to try it.
Encourage your baby to babble
Your baby will start babbling soon. Babbling is the fundamental building blocks for communication.
We need to encourage then when they are babbling. You can encourage by showing positive signals such as smiling, talking back to your baby, you can question or listen to your baby.
When your baby feels that their communication is having an impact on you, your baby will automatically increase his babbling more.
Sing to your baby
You need not be a professional singer. Your baby is born loving your voice.
One of the interesting things I understood when I spoke to an expert was, Wen we sing. In whatever level of talent that we have. With all the mistakes in tone and pitch. It still encourages the baby to try singing.
If we only expose our baby to listing to professional singing. We subconsciously expose our baby to high standard of singing. This can set a utopian target to the kid.
Have back and forth conversation
When I stay back and forth conversation. It is not as how we adults have.
Most of the time your baby can only babble with “kkaa,,, keeii .. cooo… ooo “sounds.
Treat those sounds as responses and answer back.
Tips: We can answer sometimes by just mimicking their sounds. And sometimes by using grown up language. How you answer back is im-material as long as you have a conversation styled interaction with your baby.
Ask lot of Questions to your baby
Asking questions is a way of talking to your baby. Not that you are going to get a concrete answer. But it is a way of engaging with your kid.
Your baby will slowly decode a normal talk, a story telling conversation and a questioning conversation.
With questions and an expectant look from your side. You will signal your baby to respond. This will be a good kick starter to motivate your baby to start talking back.
You can ask simple questions like do you want to be picked up? How are you? Do you like mangoes? Do you want to play?
You can ask about anything and everything. But what is important is that when you ask question wait for your babies answer and then ask the next.
Use sign language or actions
Start with mimicking simple signs like waving good bye. raising hand for a hi fi, clapping hands to show encouragement, are all Sign Languages.
Even adult communication as 80% of nonverbal communication and in that it most of it are the gestures that we use. Babies that use signing are better equipped to have a steeper curve in language development.
So, try not just to talk to you baby but also so communicate through action to your baby. Simple action such as using your hands near your eyes to show so that it is crying.
Name body parts
When you have time with you baby you can also teach your baby different body parts.
E.g. If you catch your little one looking at his hand you can tell him “Hands”. You can point to his nose and tell him “Nosey.. Nosey”. You can point to his “two little feet to tap tap tap”.
Take baby outside
There are many things outside that you can point out to your baby that would not have been possible at home.
You can point two trees, vehicles, buildings, colourful lights etc. If you are able to take your baby to a grocery store there is once again a whole lot of items that you can point to your baby and name them.
There are also other numerous benefits of going outside during day time. The main one being the benefits of being exposed to sunlight. Do stop in a read about 20 Astonishing benefits of sunlight for kids.
Name the object that you baby spots around the house.
Example if you have the baby near you on the dinner table. You can lift a plate and show to your baby and name it.
Same way you can show a spoon and name it to your baby. You can point to the bottle. Your baby will follow what you are pointing at and try to learn the words.
This helps your baby in relating to objects and words which form the basis of vocabulary.
Set playdates for your little one
Once in a while it is also important to set some play dates for your baby. Babies observe and learn.
You can have few babies sit together and leave them with some toys or encourage them to a messy play. (If you are wondering what a messy play is. It is one of the best kinds of play that I can personally vouch for infants).
My daughter who is now 8 yrs. old still loves this type of play. If you like to know more read the article MESSY PLAY – Powerful benefits that will help child.
You will soon find that each baby tries to babble and attempt to play with each other.
When you nudge in if needed and respond to the babble other baby that it is watching the conversation get encouraged to imitate.
Show enthusiasm to your baby always
Babies respond best when they see positive impact of their presence on you.
Your baby loves please you.
So, show them enthusiasm that you are happy and pleased with them.
Example: Greet your baby when you meet them. Shout out a high pitch good morning when they wake up. Lift them up and cuddle them.
Use a beat tone. The ones that are high pitched when you greet them. This will excite your baby and they would love to want to talk to you.
Smile to your baby
Smile to your baby as often as you can. This is also a way to communicate to your baby that your baby is having a positive impact on you.
Smiling gives your baby reassurance that they are important to you. I used to have a smiling face even if I was trying to communicate to the older one on something important so the younger one watches me and giggles.
Look at them in the eye while talking
Even as adults we like when someone is making eye contact with us when we are talking to them.
So, it should be of little wonder that babies are any different.
When you look at them in the eye while talking you would be rewarded with an undivided attention from them.
They know you are talking to them and they will try to keenly observe what you are speaking and how you are speaking.
Limit TV viewing time
Cartoons can be engaging to your baby and definitely will capture your baby’s attention.
But there is absolutely of no use and to a lot extent harmful to over expose your baby to TV viewing.
And more so it is of no help in language development. Or in your baby’s communication skill.
It may not appear to be a problem at this stage how ever at later stage this can lead to screen time addition. If you wish to know more on how an addiction is formed, we have explained in our article SCREEN ADDICTION IN KIDS – All you need to know with Tips.
So please try limiting if not avoiding entirely tv or mobile viewing time.
Medical check-up (Well baby check-ups)
While all that we have told about the ways by which you can encourage your baby to develop communication skills.
It is also equally important that we understand that our baby needs to be physically fit.
Do your well baby check-ups regularly.
Make sure that your baby audiometry test scheduled is taken.
Also inspect your baby for any blockage in their ears. It can even be a small object or an ear infection or a simple ear wax problem that can cause issues to a baby.
Parenting is not easy. It needs a lot of effort and time from our side. Same goes with all the above steps mentioned.
A little bit of extra effort from your side will go a long way in encouraging language development in your baby.
So, make a conscious effort and get some alone time with your baby. And baby talk with them till your hearts content.
And in few months, you will be rewarded by their first words of “Ma” / “Pa”.
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