Engaging your baby with small talk

11 Apr 2018

Chatting with your Baby

Did you know that one of the most important ways you can help your baby to learn and develop is by having a good old chat? Engaging babies in the “serve and return” of conversational turn taking is key to shaping the architecture of their developing brains.

Here are some simple tips to help you talk with your baby in ways that will boost their brain development and language skills:

  1. Tune into your baby

Babies may not communicate with actual words, but that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate at all!  Young children naturally reach out for interaction through crying, babbling, facial expressions, and gestures.  Watching and listening to your baby will help you to respond to these non-verbal cues through words, gestures and vocalisations. 

  1. Talk with your Baby

Chat with your baby throughout the day.  Chat in the car; chat in the supermarket; chat as you change their nappy.  Babies need lots of different words, and talking during every day experiences helps to make sure this happens. 

  1. Use your own Language

Babies are born with the ability to hear all the sounds of all the languages in the world.  Babies can also learn more than one language.  Your baby will learn best when you use the language you feel most confident with, so don’t be afraid to use the language that matters to you. 

  1. Take turns talking

Know someone who does all the talking and you don’t get to say much? Babies don’t like that either! Just like talking with an adult, great chats with baby go two ways, back and forth. When you talk, notice how your baby listens and watches you.  Stop and give your baby time to respond with a vocalisation, gesture or smile.  The key here is talking with your baby, rather than talking to your baby.

  1. Reading Books

One of the most important things we can do for a child’s language development is to read to them – often, and from an early age.  One of the great things about books is they expose your baby to different words, sounds, rhythms and intonations and helps to build a lifelong love of literacy.