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How To Get Your Baby to Communicate

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baby talking on a pink cell phone

The two must-haves for building your baby’s speech are a quiet environment and your undivided attention - hard to achieve in this day and age. Of course, any baby who is around people will learn to talk anyway, but if you want to help yours develop vocabulary faster, here's how:

Set a regular talk time

Dedicate half an hour or so every day to talking with your child - perhaps during mealtime or bath time. Maintaining eye contact, say a short, simple sentence (“Baby likes carrots” or “Baby is in the water!”) and then pause for a response. Even if his reply makes no sense to you, it’s still a success; he’s learning the ebb and flow of conversation.

Speak to your child in a natural but melodic manner

The singsong quality that so frequently accompanies talking to infants helps them decipher our word breaks, allowing comprehension to begin.

Imitate what your baby says to you

"If she says, "Doggie!" repeat back to her, "Yes, doggie!" You’re not stunting her growth by reinforcing baby talk; instead, you’re showing her that talking is fun and that people will respond to what she says. But do not expect or ask your baby to imitate you. No matter how great the temptation, resist the impulse to coax her to “Say ‘Daddy.’”

Praise your baby

When your little one says something (even if you can’t understand it), rev him up. Like adults, children respond best to positive messages. By the same token, avoid negative statements (a helpful universal directive for parenting - if a profoundly challenging one). No matter the age, no one wants to be told he’s saying something incorrectly.

Follow your baby’s lead

Talk about the things that interest her moment to moment. If she hands you a block, talk about it: “This a white block” or “Thank you for the block” or “Do you want the block?” (Don't forget to wait for her reply). If she moves on to a toy car, talk about the car.

 
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