Encouraging your baby to communicate with you helps them learn about conversation. Baby loves listening to you talk and will start to communicate with you long before they can talk themselves (by crying, smiling, cooing, babbling, etc.). Here are some tips for supporting baby’s language with conversation:
• Get down to baby’s level and look at his eyes to show him that you are ready to listen and communicate. This lets him know that you are interested in what he wants to communicate.
• Tune into and respond positively to your baby’s verbal signals (coos, cries, babbling) and nonverbal signals (moving arms or legs, looking at you, smiling, etc). Leave space for baby to communicate with you about what
he is experiencing by pausing after making statements or asking questions. Baby may respond or he may not, but holding that space for him to communicate is very important.
• Use an animated tone of voice that shows baby that you’re interested in interacting with him. Ask baby questions (e.g. “what do you want to tell me?” or “how are you feeling today?”) and listen to what he has to communicate (cooing, smiling, babbling, words, etc.). It’s all right if he isn’t ready to respond, you are helping his brain wire itself for conversational skills long before he can talk. When he starts to babble or talk, respond to his communication in a way that shows him you are interested to keep the conversation going.