talk, talk, talk
why do this?
It can be awkward to talk to someone who doesn’t talk back yet – but the research is clear: talking to your baby now will help give her a head start in school.
There's a direct link between children's intelligence and the number of words that were spoken to them as babies.
what should we talk about today?
Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, for instance, ‘Now we are going to take a bath’, ‘Can you feel the warm water on your belly?’, ‘When we dry off we will get dressed and go to the park’ - so your baby connects your speech to these objects and experiences.
Take her shopping. Describe what you are buying, ‘This is a red apple and we will eat it at lunch.’ These sentences make a connection between the object and the words. They also make a connection between different parts of her life (store and home).
Name the parts of your baby’s body when you are changing her diaper, bathing her or simply snuggling.
Name things in your baby’s environment like people (mummy, daddy, uncle), animals (dog, cat, pigeon) and objects (chair, book, car).
Point to and name things you both can see, e.g. ‘Look, a dog.’ As they get more familiar with words, you can add more details, e.g. ‘Look, a big dog'.
more about talking...
Long before your baby can vocalise her wants, she’s communicating with you. She may lift her arms to be picked up, shake her head to say no, or point at a toy she wants. Acknowledge and respond to this early communication to encourage your child to improve her communication abilities. Being understood is motivation for her to learn new ways to communicate.
When your baby is trying to communicate with you, give her your full attention. Not only will this help her develop the confidence to learn to talk, it will also teach her how to be a good listener.
Singing nursery rhymes, action songs and lullabies to your baby is beneficial for language development. She will love the sound of your voice and will enjoy repeating any accompanying actions. Teach your baby action songs, like “Pat-A-Cake”, “This Little Piggy”, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the bus”.
If your baby points to the table and makes noise, don't just give her more noodles. Instead, point to the noodles and say, “Do you want some more noodles? These noodles taste good with cheese, don't they?”
let your child lead
During playtime, follow your child's interests to show that communication is a two-way game of talking and listening, leading, and following.
things to avoid
Background noise - Babies are easily distracted. Switch off the TV and radio, and let your baby focus on what you’re saying.
Limit screen time - Experts argue that children under the age of two shouldn’t watch TV. Research has found watching TV can have a detrimental effect on language development.