Do you find yourself speaking to your baby in high-pitched cutesy tones? It’s called baby talk and your child loves it! According to an article on WebMD, 80% of your child’s brain develops in the first three years of their life, with them quickly growing synapses (about 700 per second) in the first few years.
Speaking to your baby triggers those important synapses in the part of the brain that processes language. The more words your baby is exposed to, the stronger those mental connections become. This process strengthens your child’s future language skills and their overall ability to learn. Fun fact: Infants who get more baby talk know more words by age two than their peers.
Here are a few tips to help you better communicate with your little one:
1. Pay attention
Switch off all devices and make sure there are no distractions. Tune into your baby’s body language and ask them questions. For example, if the flowers on the dining room table fascinate your baby, talk to them about it. Raisingchildren.net.au suggests using natural pauses when speaking to your baby, so that they can learn the “give and take” rhythm of conversations.
2. Tell stories, read rhymes and sing songs
Teach your kids about the wonders of reading by making storytime a regular occurrence in your household. It will help expose them to a broad vocabulary and help them develop better verbal skills. Singing songs (even if you’re not the next Beyoncé) is also a great way to get them to participate and learn too. Bathing your baby? Why not learn a few bath-time rhymes to wash the day away? Your child will soon be repeating them.
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“The more words your baby is exposed to, the stronger those mental connections become. This process strengthens your child’s future language skills and their overall ability to learn.”
3. Look baby in the eyes
Experts also suggest that you look your baby in the eyes when communicating or waiting for them to communicate. Eye contact is the foundation of communication, so encourage your baby to look at you when they speak, even if it means getting onto your knees to do it.
Enjoy getting to know your baby. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to parent, just your way!