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How to talk to your baby: Age-wise tips for parents

In the first three months after birth, parents can talk, sing, narrate your activities, read or play games with your baby. And when your child responds by smiling or making gestures with her arms and legs, smile back and act excited.

By: Parenting Desk |
July 3, 2019 11:12:07 am
talking to baby Talking to your baby can improve his or her learning skills.

Most parents tend to talk to newborns even before they learn to speak their first words. And that’s actually beneficial for the baby’s development. Children whose parents talk to them are known to form stronger language and conversational skills as compared to those whose parents do not.

About 80 per cent of physical development of your baby’s brain happens during the first three years after birth. As the brain gets bigger, it forms connections called synapses that it needs think, learn and process information. Speaking to the baby fires up the synapses in the part of the brain that controls language. The mental connections get stronger with more and more words that the baby hears. And so parents need to talk to their babies often. This can then enhance your child’s overall ability to learn in future.

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What is the ideal way to talk to a baby?

Parents can speak to the child in the usual sing-song voice or what is also called baby talk. Several studies have shown how baby talk is more effective in holding the infant’s attention. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin found that basic baby talk can help babies pick up words faster.

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Again, young children tend to respond to some specific words and sounds of baby talk more than others. Linguists at the University of Edinburgh also concluded that words that end with ‘y’ like “tummy” or “mummy”, and those with repeat sounds like “night-night” can help infants pick up words in speech.

Here are some age-wise tips for parents on talking to their baby:

1-3 months

In the first three months after birth, parents can talk, sing, narrate your activities, read or play games with the baby. And when your child responds by smiling or making gestures with her arms and legs, smile back and act excited. Once your baby starts making sounds, mimic those and mix in some real words as well.

4-7 months

Now that your baby has started uttering sounds, use them to encourage forming of words. This is when you can start expanding your conversation by speaking slowly and stressing on certain words.

Draw your child’s attention to different objects and tell him or her what they are. Besides, you should also read to your child every day, show colourful picture books and name the pictures as you read.

8-12 months

By this time, your baby is likely to start understanding some of your words. So, keep talking and explaining your actions to your infant. Use positive statements to direct your baby’s behaviour. But at no point should you yell at the baby. Sing to your child and act out the song while doing so. Encourage your baby to imitate the words you say.

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