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.
It’s never too early to start talking to your child. Most brain development happens before the age of two and the best way to stimulate babies’ brains is to talk to them more.
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.
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 watch and listen to adults for short periods of time and I love toys with noises”
Tip: Toys that are musical instruments are great at helping listening skills! Try singing nursery rhymes with actions like incey-wincey- spider, and ring a ring a Rosie with your baby to help develop their attention.
Play & Chat
Your Baby: “I play people games like “peek a boo” and “clap hands” and I am learning to wait for my turn”
Tip: Talk to you baby about what you are doing because this helps your baby to link the words to the things they see. Teaching your baby to take turns can be fun! Try taking turns stacking blocks or popping bubbles.
Your Baby: “I understand more and more simple words like car, shoe, no, stop”
Tip: The more your baby hears these words the quicker they will understand what these words mean.
Your Baby: “I use a few single words now but only my family understand them”
Tip: The words babies say don’t always sound the way they should. Say the word again so your baby will hear how to say them the right way when he/she can.
Your Baby: “I still babble loudly to myself and to others, often pointing at the same time”
Tip: When your baby babbles, talk back to them using real words so they know you are interested and listening.
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.