It can be challenging to know how you, as a parent, can help build your baby’s speech and language skills when they are just newborns. Here is a list of suggestions for encouraging communication with your infant:
- Encourage your baby to make a variety of sounds such as ba, owh, da, eei by saying the same sounds back to them.
- Keep your baby’s attention by looking at her and talking to her with sounds similar to those she’s making. Use different pitches and tones in your speech.
- Laugh with your baby and have fun making different faces together.
- Teach your baby to imitate you by clapping your hands, blowing kisses, and playing finger games like pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.
- Help your baby learn other sounds too like car sounds and animal sounds “The doggie says woof-woof.”
- Use gestures such as waving goodbye, pointing and hand movements to help your baby understand the words you are saying.
- When your baby makes sounds to you, pay attention, they are saying something. Acknowledge their attempt to communicate by saying something back.
- Help your baby use their first words in other ways: “Here is mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Baby up?”
- Read to your child. Talk about the pictures in a favourite book. Encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book.
- Daily routines like dressing, bathing and mealtimes are great times for talking.
- Don’t forget to listen. Give your baby time to talk and take his turn.
- Look at your baby when you talk together.
- Talk about all the activities and things around you.
Remember: Talking to your baby helps develop a close bond and enhances self-esteem.