Talking and listening to babies from the moment they’re born helps them develop good listening and language skills. It also helps them to learn and develop good relationships with people.
Babies can talk to you before they start using words. By moving their mouth, arms or legs, cooing, babbling or smiling, your baby is talking with you and looking for a response. Try to respond to your baby by making eye contact, smiling and talking back as much as possible.
Talk about everyday routines (e.g. eating, washing, nappy changing). This will help your child to understand which words go with which actions.
As your baby’s speech is developing they are learning new words and language through looking, listening and playing. Here are some handy tips in areas that help your baby to develop strong language skills:
Attention & Listening
Your Baby: “I love music and rhymes and I will bounce and sway to the rhythm”
Tip: Help your baby to listen by turning off the TV or radio. Sing a nursery rhyme while changing their nappy.
Play & Chat
Your Baby: “I am learning how conversations work and how to take turns with my sounds”
Tip: Show your baby how to take turns when playing with toys or when you sing together.
Your Baby: “I understand a few more words like “all gone” and shake my head for “no” or wave for “goodbye”
Tip: Talk to your baby about things that happened that day and give your baby time to say something back.
Your Baby: “I make lots of babbling sounds and I am beginning to point to things I want at the same time”
Tip: When your baby is babbling, pretend you know what they are saying to keep the conversation going.
Your Baby: “I copy you and say things that sound like real words like “mumum”, “daddad” and “hi-ya”
Tip: Copying is important for talking, try play copying games like clapping hands, copying faces and sounds with your baby. Your baby will enjoy listening to your voice and watching your face.
This article is provided by Little Voices. Little Voices is the oral language strand of the ABC Start Right Limerick project. The aim of Little Voices is to improve outcomes in oral language development and pre-literacy skills in children aged 0 – 4 years. Little Voices is led by Speech and Language Therapists who work closely with parents,
families and staff in the North side and city centre communities of Limerick. Little Voices focuses on developing a collaborative and universal approach that engages children through the implementation of various training, mentoring supports and parent programmes.