Talking to your baby is the most important thing that you can do to help them learn to talk and later learn to read.
Talk to your new baby
Congratulations, your little one has entered the world. They need you to talk to them to explain what this busy place is all about. Talk to your baby about what you are doing, what they can see, what they can hear, feel and smell.
Respond to your baby’s cries. This will be one of the first, and a very important way that they communicate with you. When your baby cries and you talk to them in a soothing voice they know ‘I am important’, ‘I am loved’ and ‘I am safe’.
Talk to your baby during your everyday routines such as dressing, bathing, feeding and during play. It doesn’t matter what you say. They will be interested in you and your wonderful voice.
At about 8 weeks your baby will find their own voice. This is when they will want to start having mini conversations with you. Listen to your baby’s sounds. Wait for them to finish. Talk back to them and then wait again.
Touch your baby
We communicate so much through touch in our everyday lives – love, empathy, excitement. Being hands on with your baby will help them feel safe and secure.
Use touch during your everyday routines:
give you baby a gentle massage after bath time
play gentle tickle games with your baby
kiss their face, their hands, their feet
hold them close and rock them gently
Read to your baby
Reading to your baby is a great way to help them learn to talk, and later learn to read. Your baby loves the sound of your voice and will love hearing you read to them from the day they are born. Choose books that have short phrases and clear pictures. Books that rhyme and have a great rhythm will captivate your baby too.
A great way to share books with your baby is to lie on the floor next to your baby and hold the book above you. Read to them using an expressive voice. Read the same books over and over. Babies learn through repetition.
Promise your baby that you will read to them everyday.
Sing to your baby
Your baby will be captivated when you sing to them. Songs engage babies (and all children) and are a great way for them to learn words. Children’s songs are fantastic because they:
repeat key words
often have actions that explain what a word means
talk about what is happening in the ‘here and now’
have catchy tunes that make babies pay attention to what you are saying
Use songs in your everyday routines. For example, bath time is a great time to sing ‘Everybody washing’ or ‘This is the way we wash your…’