From birth, babies are using none verbal ways of communicating with the world around them. They cry as a way of telling their caregivers that they want their nappy changing or they suck their fingers to indicate that they are hungry.
All babies reach talking milestones at different ages, but typically a baby’s first word happens by the age of one year. There are ways in which we can encourage a baby to talk and below are some helpful tips for you.
Here are 8 tips for encouraging Your Baby to talk:
1. Talk about things that you are doing as and when you are doing them
When you play with your baby, talk them through what things mean and what actions you are taking step by step. Continuously name objects again and again.
2. Listen carefully and give your baby time to talk (babble) back
Take turns with speaking with your baby – like you would in a conversation. You can talk then they can talk. This will help to teach your baby listening skills and help them to understand that we take turns when talking. Really seem interested in what they are saying and look fascinated when they babble.
3. Encourage your Baby’s listening skills
Playing noises such as animal and vehicle sounds or playing music for your baby to listen to, makes them more attentive.
The kick and play piano gym and sensory book below are perfect for helping your baby’s listening skills because they make fascinating noises to get their attention. You could even show your baby images of animals and cars then imitate the sounds. Or, put on some nursery rhymes or lullabies to encourage their listening skills.
4. Try to get your baby’s attention when you want to talk
If they are looking at you when you talk to them, your baby will learn how your lips and tongue move to make different sounds.
5. Try to respond when they babble (either verbally or with facial expressions)
By responding to your baby when they make noises you will help to increase their confidence with talking and building social skills. You can respond with phrases like “is it” or “yes I know”.
6. Reading to babies
Reading to your baby not only sooths them but it helps with their communication as they will begin to learn what things mean in the stories you regularly tell them.
7. Practice baby sign language
According to Educational Playcare, research has shown that when babies learn sign language it can speed up their speech development and reduce frustration as it helps them to express themselves.
The Youtube channel Songs For Littles has videos that show how to perform hand gestures and baby sign language to develop babies communication. You can practice the hand gestures yourself and encourage your baby to imitate you.
8. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
And lastly (but most importantly), remember to keep repeating words and phrases to help your baby to understand how words are said and what they mean. It may seem mundane to keep repeating yourself but it’s how babies learn. Make learning fun with these Baby First Words Picture Cards set.