A baby’s first year includes many of his first encounters – first smile, gurgles, coos, flipping over and learning how to say “mama” or “papa”. Babies communicate to us in their own language, and we adults and parents respond back by baby talking. It’s true we may not understand what the baby is saying through “goo goo ga ga” but we can certainly reply by talking to the baby, singing and smiling.
Countless parenting research also encourages parents to start talking to your baby as early as 1 month old. The more you talk to your baby, the earlier he/she recognizes your voice and feels the bond with you and your family members. Research shares that early communication and language skills relates to better development in writing, reading and interpersonal skills, both in childhood and growing up.
Here are 5 ways on how you can baby talk:
- Smile and pay attention to baby’s reaction
Babies absorb emotional tone and that is probably why parents often use high pitch tones to baby talk. “Heyyyy baybeee! Look at ma maaaaaa!” Somehow babies react to such high pitch tones over normal speech, and respond back with cooing and gurgling. Pay attention to how your baby reacts to your baby talk, such as facial expression, babbling sounds – these could be her trying to tell you she is happy or frustrated.
- Use proper words
Ask any mothers in Singapore what is “go pom pom” and most of them will be able to tell you the same answer – this refers to ‘go bath’. Early childhood educators encourage parents to use proper words instead of nonsense words (words not in dictionary). Babies will grow up benefit from simple speech.
- Start reading early
I, myself have witnessed the difference between those toddlers that starts reading early with parents reading to them on a daily basis versus those toddlers that start much later. The vocabs they learn at such age and how they use those vocabs to present themselves at early childhood has a direct impact to their language ability growing up.
- Imitate your baby
From 0-3 months, you can imitate your baby’s vocalization as a response back to his gurgles and coos. Then strengthen communication by smiling and imitating facial expressions.
- Talk about everything and talk often
Babies love attention particularly when you talk to them. You can talk to them about how your day went, the scenery at the park, what you did in the morning, what you are cooking or preparing for baby – basically everything. They enjoy hearing your voice and start voice recognition at early age. Talk as you are changing his diaper, carrying, bathing, feeding so you are engaging your baby’s listening skills by talking to him often throughout the day.