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The first thing that any baby does when he enters the world is to open his mouth and let out a loud wail and start crying. Once that initiates his breathing normally, babies tend to behave in different ways. Some babies might be very active, crying or making gurgling sounds throughout, while others are usually quiet most of the time, and let out a cry only when they need to be attended to. When wondering how to talk to babies, parents need to know that the method rarely matters. Keeping up with communication and talking as much as possible as you usually would, is a key part of your child’s development.
Why is It Important to Talk with Your Baby?
Studies have shown that more the kids are exposed to a variety of sounds, speech patterns and words, the more they are able to understand the differences between them and develop a foundation necessary to build their own speech over it. It has also been observed that babies who grow up in joint families, where there are multiple people and multiple conversations happening throughout, do tend to pick up speech early in life and remember new words easily.
Interactive Ways of Communicating with Babies to Encourage Their Speech Development
Although carrying out usual conversations with your child in a loving manner is good to kick-start the process of speech development, there are certain ways you can adapt to make those moments a little more interactive. These techniques make use of scientifically established theories as well to help babies grasp the language quickly.
1. Address Their Cries
This is one of the major issues which parents are conflicted about. Some parents believe that helping a baby the moment he begins crying will make him dependent on the presence of parents. So it is best to let him cry for a while. There might be some degree of truth to it but that usually comes into play when your child has grown up a bit. In the initial phases, crying is the only way your child can communicate his needs and troubles. Therefore, make sure you address those cries so that he knows he is safe and the method of communication is working.
2. Talk in a Higher Pitch
Having ongoing conversations with your baby is extremely important. Also, it is best if you can talk to him in a voice that is extra-loving and excited, shifting the pitch a little higher. There is a reason people baby-talk in a voice that is kid-like and that is purely because babies seem to respond to those voices well, over normal voices with baritones. Using a higher pitch and speaking slowly while elongating various words and letters can help the baby remember the basic building blocks of spoken language.
3. Repetition of Certain Words
For any human being, be it a baby or an adult, repetition is a proven method to learn any new skill or remember any new element. The brains of babies might still be undergoing development but they are also actively engaged in taking in as much information as possible. By repeating certain words multiple times when you speak to your child, those words start getting a priority in the brain and attempts are made to remember them sooner. These could be simple ones like “dudu” and “mama” that blend in the conversation. Make sure you reference the objects along with the words, too.
4. Speak in Blocks
Babies are not matured enough to understand full-fledged sentences and the flow of words and grammar. That’s advanced language, especially for the little one. Instead, focus on small and simple individual words that are accompanied by a tangible action. For example, if you are giving your child water, you can accompany that by saying “papa” or anything else repeatedly. Slowly and steadily, as the child becomes more aware and grows up, he will be able to associate one word with the action and be able to communicate his needs to you in a better way.
5. Encourage Constant Communication
Parenting is difficult and with the constant hounding around your child, listening to his cries day and night, combined with other activities of the home, would want you to have some quiet time. As much necessary as that is, do keep a communication-oriented atmosphere in the home. Do not simply sit with your child when he is in the mood to play. When that happens enough times, a baby might begin to feel that this is a normal way of life and find it difficult to communicate later on. Keep talking using various words and intonations and sounds and your baby will be delighted by it.
6. Connect Words to Baby’s Actions
It is good to use words to refer to what you are doing but also start using words as a means to define what the baby is doing or experiencing. This creates an instant connect since the baby is the direct subject in this case. There are instances of baby burping or baby pooping that happen most of the times. When you clean his diaper, refer to cleaning the “poopoo” since the baby already knows he has pooped. If using hot or cold cloths, refer to the temperatures with different words, too. The baby may not understand the meaning but he can always connect the feeling with the word.
7. Include Stories and Songs
Communication doesn’t have to be just about words and sentences and dialogues. Telling stories and songs delve into a deeper aspect of communication that relies heavily on creating an emotional connect. Babies tend to respond to music quite effectively and combining those melodies with words can be quite effective. Storytelling by making use of voice modulation and sound effects can be exciting for the little one, too.
8. Use Books and Visual Aids
As your baby grows up, he will be able to perceive things visually in a clearer way than before. This can then be taken to your advantage by making use of colourful photos, images or storybooks when you talk to your child. Let his brain make the connections between the words you use and the sounds you make with the images he sees.
9. Non-Verbal Cues
Children need to be able to connect verbal information with non-verbal cues as well. This can be achieved by maintaining an expressive face that exaggerates the emotions of the communication you are having with your child. If you are not happy with what he is doing, making large eyes and a frowny face can let him know that you are unhappy. Smiling a lot and laughing happily teaches the same as well.
10. Differentiate People
As your child grows up and can starts recognising people, start using specific words for each person. This is one of the easiest ways your child’s memory and speech development can progress rapidly. Very soon he will start calling out names of the people he wants to see and mention our names when he sees them.
Talking to your newborn baby is extremely essential in the nascent stages and even while he grows up. The communication might seem repetitive and nonsensical at times but that’s just our adult brain. Remember the effect it has on your baby and immerse yourself in the activity to let your baby have the best of you at all times.