Babies communicate from birth through crying, eye contact and listening. Sounds, facial expressions and gestures are their way of communication with the adults. When you talk and communicate with your baby, you build your “baby language capacity”. You are also building your relationship with your baby at the same time. Smiling, singing, reading and talking to your baby help in encouraging your baby to build communication skills.
Why is building communication skills important for your baby? Early speech and language skills are associated with success in developing reading, writing, and interpersonal skills, both later in childhood and later in life. Daily interactions with baby like smiling and talking to baby during feeding, diaper changes and bath time can form a happy part in your daily routine. These are also great opportunities for you to sing to your baby. It provides a distraction and makes the routine more fun and entertaining for both you and baby.
Repeat simple words often, so that your baby will begin to eventually connect words with the objects. Another way is to narrate what you do as you go through your daily routines. This helps baby to relate words with actions. It will be easier to get your child to articulate his ideas and feelings when he is assured that adults will not be judging, teasing or criticising him when he does so.
Wind down, relax and cuddle your baby at the end of the day as you read stories and nursery rhymes together. Encourage your older baby to point at the objects that he sees on the page. Wonder together on how the character may be feeling and encourage your baby to turn the pages. Let your child choose the books. The more interest he has in the book, the more attentive and enjoyable your time together will be. Studies shows that lifetime readers are those with a pleasant reading experience in their childhood.
Lastly, your child learns by watching and observing the surroundings closely. If you treat and talk to others with kindness and respect, it is very likely that your child will follow your lead and do the same when he becomes more verbal. You are your child’s best role model.