Photo credit: Tricia Williams
As a Speech Pathologist, I have received many great questions from parents on ways to support their children’s development. My first answer is usually, “You are already doing so many amazing things!” Simply showing our children love and interacting with them meaningfully can have a lifelong impact. There are also many quick tips that can help parents find more teachable moments in everyday activities.
Young children are like little sponges soaking up new information. Meaningful parent-child interaction from the start supports the brain in developing strong neural connections that will form the basis for later learning.
Research shows that the brain grows to 80% of its adult size by the age of three and that talking and listening to your child is proven to have a positive impact on cognitive development in this critical window of brain development (ZERO to THREE). How cool that something as simple as talking to your baby can have a positive impact their brain development!
Here are 10 tips for supporting your baby’s language development:
- Interact with baby in a loving way! Snuggle, hug, and kiss baby and label these actions with words. Speak to baby in a loving and soothing tone of voice and tell baby how much you love them.
- Sing songs to your baby (lullabies, made up songs, songs you like, anything with words and/or a melody).
- Grab a book and read to baby as often as you can.
- Talk to your baby, but also listen and respond to baby’s verbal and nonverbal cues. This important back-and-forth communication between parent and baby helps lay the foundation for later conversational skills.
- Use an animated tone of voice that shows baby that your interested in interacting with him.
- Ask baby questions and listen to what he has to communicate (cooing, smiling, babbling, words, etc.). It’s ok if he isn’t ready to respond yet, you are helping his brain wire itself for conversational skills long before he can talk.
- Play simple games with baby like peek-a-boo to encourage early social interaction.
- Be silly with baby and do things that make them laugh and smile. They are communicating to you that they are having fun!
- Take your baby outside and talk to them about what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling. The outdoors provide so many fun things to talk about.
- Get the Baby Talk Tips Ebook! This book will provide you with quick and fun tips on supporting your baby’s language development in the context of your daily routine using play, music, laughter, and items that you already have around you. The beauty of learning is that it can take place in any moment and it can (and should) be fun!
To get more tips download our free Baby Talk Tips chapter or get the full Ebook here!
What are your favorite ways to support baby’s communication development? Share with us in the comments below.
Note: The information and materials available through our website are for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for the professional judgment of health care professionals in diagnosing and treating patients. Products and services offered on the website should not be construed as any form of speech therapy. Visit our legal page for more.