Growth & Skill Development
How to talk to your baby
As your baby starts to form sounds, she’ll try to hold a "conversation" with you, alternately babbling and then listening. Call out to her from another room, however, and you’ll be ignored.
Your baby needs to see you talking to her to connect your voice with a conversation. She’ll be most talkative when she’s happy, and very quiet when she’s not.
Help build your baby's language skills
Don’t expect to hear any real words quite yet. Most of her baby talk will be one-syllable sounds such as "moo," "maa," and "baa." There are a few things you can do right now to help baby develop language and social skills:
- Talk about what's going on. If you’re putting your baby’s socks on her, talk about that. If you’re holding up a rattle, chat about the rattle. Then shake the rattle and talk about the noise.
- Use short sentences and simple words. At first your baby can only process simple information.
- Use nouns consistently to identify things. For instance, ask, "Where is your book?" rather than, "Where is it?" Refer to your baby by name. She’s still too young to grasp the concept of pronouns like "you," "me," "yours," and so on. Instead say, "Jennifer did a good job."
- Talk about objects the baby can see rather than things she has to recall. Seeing the object and hearing the word at the same time will help your baby make a stronger connection.
- Refer often to pictures. Faces and people will be especially intriguing at this time in your baby’s life. Picture books can be great conversation starters!
- Talk in a happy-sounding voice. That’s pretty easy, actually, since most adults almost automatically adopt a sing-songy voice whenever they’re face-to-face with an infant.
- Emphasize facial expressions and gestures as you speak. You may feel silly, but this will help your baby understand you better. Also make sure the facial expressions you use look happy. This way your baby will begin to identify talking as something pleasant.