Babies speak a language that not everyone understands. But, if you study the rhythm of those little kicking feet and listen to the melody of their strange gurgling noises you’ll soon realise that, despite their lack of vocab, these miniature people have quite a lot to say.
Research tells us that babies learn best from the important people around them. When we respond, babies are rewarded by being answered with more conversation and attention from you.
Here are two ways you can help babies turn those noises, facial expressions and gestures into words.
- Seeing eye to eye
Being a very small person in a very big world can be overwhelming at times. There are just so many blobs of colour and movement to look at. Make sure you move in a bit closer and make it easier for them to focus on your face. They love hearing your voice, smelling your smell and seeing your smile. Once you’ve got their attention you’re going to see their eyes light up. You can see those moments of wonder and recognition getting bigger and bigger as they get older. Remember to keep your pace slow for these chats and repeat sounds and words often.
- Let the conversations begin!
Have you ever heard of parentese? Parentese is that slower, higher-pitched, overly exaggerated way of speaking to babies that you see most adults using. We open our eyes wider, put on big smiles, and over-enunciate the words we’re saying. It’s our in-built way of talking to young babies and they tune in to this kind of talking at an early age. Babies are sensitive to loudness, rhythm and a tuneful voice so it is this type of talk that’s most likely to get your baby’s attention.
Even with tiny babies, the more you talk the more they concentrate. Sometimes they’ll lock their gaze on your mouth and watch as the words come out. Pretty soon they’ll be babbling and gurgling back. They’ve got lots to tell you!