11 Ways to Develop Your Baby’s Language Skills

11 Ways to Develop Your Baby's Language Skills 1

The best way to coax baby into saying her first words? Talk, talk and talk some more.

how to talk to your baby
The best way to coax baby into saying her first words? Talk, talk and talk some more.

In the meantime, chatting up your cutie is one of the best ways to encourage those first words and help develop her language skills. Not sure what to say? Here are a few conversation starters to try.

How to talk to your baby

Narrate your day

As you go about your day, tell your baby what you’re doing at various moments. “I’m turning on the water for your bath — whoosh! This water is nice and warm. Now let’s pick out a toy. How about this yellow duck? Quack, quack!”

Does she know what you’re saying? Probably not just yet. But keep at it, and one day she’ll surprise you with her very first “da” — for “duck”!

Ask questions

No, you don’t need to start playing trivia with your baby, but asking questions is a great way to engage with her. For example, “Should we walk to the park or drive?” or “Would you like to read this book about animals, or the one about cars?”

Pause to let your baby respond with a coo or babble. Then follow up with an answer: “I like to read about cars too!”

Yes, at this stage you’re doing most of the talking, but you’re also demonstrating how conversation works — one person speaks, then the other person responds.

Talking with babies & children: benefits | Raising Children Network

Label everything

Using simple speech can sometimes make it easier for babies to identify specific words, especially as she gets a little older and closer to talking herself. Label and point out objects you see, such as “ball,” “banana” and “bird.”

It can help to be consistent. For example, don’t refer to the family pet as a “doggie” if your child is used to “dog.”

Play with pitch

Does your voice climb an octave or two around your baby? That’s normal — and helpful, since most babies prefer a high-pitched voice. You can also raise your pitch a little higher to see her reaction.

Read books together

Reading is one of the best ways to boost your baby’s vocabulary, so make time for storytime whenever you can. Nursery rhymes or sturdy board books are always a good choice, especially those with simple, colorful pictures or illustrations and easy-to-turn pages.

Embrace animal sounds

Ever wonder why so many children’s books are about farms? Animals are more than just fun to look at — they also make simple, interesting sounds, like “moo,” “baa” and “woof.” You can make animal noises yourself at home (“Listen, a dog is barking — woof, woof!”) or when you’re outside (“I hear a bird chirping — tweet, tweet!”).

Should I Be Talking to My Infant—and How?

Sing along

Can’t carry a tune? Your baby won’t mind. Whether you’re belting out nursery rhymes, “Baby Shark” or a silly song you just made up, your baby will love to hear you sing, especially if you have gestures to go along with the music. Create a playlist and you’ll soon find out which songs your baby likes most — then get ready to start singing them again (and again and again).

Listen as your baby tries to master sounds

Although talking to your baby helps strengthen her vocabulary, she also needs time to try her own hand (or mouth, rather) at language.When your baby starts babbling, pause and give her your undivided attention. Make eye contact and really listen as she tries to master an “mmm” or an “ahhh” (and try not to interrupt!).

Mimic baby’s responses

Reinforce your baby’s attempts at talking. When your baby coos, coo back. Answer her breathy “ah” with an equally breathy “ah” and express excitement when you hear her babble. Your little one will be delighted to have these “conversations” with you — chances are, it’ll soon turn into her favorite game.

Know when to take a break

Everyone needs quiet sometimes, and your baby is no exception. Pick up her cues: If she seems to be tuning out, turns away or becomes fussy, she’s telling you it’s time to give her ears (and your voice) a rest.

Have fun with it

Experiment with different ways to talk your baby. Don’t be afraid to change it up from day to day — maybe you feel musical one day, but would rather read books the next. Before you know it, your efforts will be rewarded with your baby’s first words.

If your baby isn’t using gestures after her first birthday, doesn’t use one to two words by 12 months or no words by 15 to 18 months, mention it to her pediatrician.

About 1 in 5 children get a late start on talking, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In some cases, kids may have hearing loss or another reason for a language delay, but oftentimes, they simply catch up on their own.

how to talk to your baby

Your doctor can help you determine if your child is just taking a little longer to reach her speech milestones or if there’s a reason behind the delay.

Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.