Why You Should Talk To Your Baby Even If They Can’t Answer You

Your baby may not be the best conversation partner right now, but that’s no reason to not talk to them. In fact, there are many benefits to talking to your little one even when the only thing they can do is look at you cluelessly and smile in response. Sure, it may feel like everything you say is going over their heads, but listening to you talk can do wonders for your baby’s language development. And this is because babies begin to learn language at birth! Incredible, isn’t it? From the moment your baby was born they have been growing and developing nonstop in so many ways. In fact, a recent study showed that speech and language development begins in the first few hours after birth (1). The study sought to find out if babies really could differentiate between speech sounds only a few hours after birth. The results showed that the newborns were able to tell the difference between vowels presented normally and those presented backwards. Their brain’s response to normally produced vowels was quicker. So there seems to be more than enough reason to talk to your baby. Here’s how you can encourage your little one’s language development and get them talking sooner.

How To Foster Language Development From An Early Age

1. Speak To Your Baby While You’re Pregnant

Research has shown us that not only is speaking to your baby beneficial for their language development but babies particularly prefer to hear the voice of their mother after birth (2). This is likely because they recognise the voice from being in the womb. So, if you want your little one to listen to you when they arrive, make sure to read them a small story or just chat them up even when they are in the womb. It’s a great way to bond with your baby while setting them up for language development success!

2. Start Talking To The Baby As Soon As They Are Born

Start Talking To The Baby As Soon As They Are Born

Image: IStock

There’s no reason for you to wait until your baby starts to “googoo gaga”, you can start talking to them as soon as they are born. In fact stimulating your child’s brain with the use of full sentences and good vocabulary is one of the best things you can do for their language development. It’s important to talk to your baby as often as you can in order to strengthen their communication development as well. And this holds true, even if they are far too young to answer you in words. An easy way to talk to your baby is to simply go about narrating things as you do them. Describe how you are making breakfast, where you both are headed to in the morning or even the steps it takes for them to get dressed. This exercise helps babies learn how to produce the sounds we often use in our language, understand appropriate intonation of speech, learn new words, and learn how to put words together in sentences.

3. Teach Your Baby Signs And Gestures

Now, we all know that your baby is not going to start talking anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t communicate with you at all. Using gestures and signs can help your tiny tot communicate with you before they even say their first word. For example, let’s imagine that you and your little one are playing a simple game of blocks and building a tower by stacking them on top of one another. You are holding onto the blocks and handing them over to your child one at a time. They might reach out their tiny hand for the next one or look at you expectantly. Instead you could show them how to use simple sign language to indicate that they want the next block. As your child is looking toward you or reaching, show them the block and wait a few seconds. If they don’t gesture toward the block, then model a sign like “more,” “want” or “please.” then it’s just a matter of encouraging your child to imitate you and then giving them their priceless reward!

4. Read Stories Together

Read Stories Together

Image: IStock

When it comes to helping your baby develop their language skills, nothing beats a good book. Research has shown that kids who see and hear more words eventually grow up to know and use more words (3). In fact, one popular study shows that when parents read a single book to their child a day, they would have learned 1.4 million more words than children who aren’t read to before they even start kindergarten (4). So, pick up a book and read to them as they fall asleep. They’ll appreciate the effort and enjoy cozy time with you as their vocabulary grows and improves.

We know it can be disheartening to talk to a baby that doesn’t react to anything you’re saying, but don’t give up. Talking to your baby will eventually do them good. And who knows, one of these days they might even crack a smile to the things you say!

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