Easy ways to boost your baby talk

There are all sorts of ways you can give your baby’s language learning a great start between birth and 12 months.

Click the labels for some top tips for turbo-charging your baby talk.

1. Switch off

Babies find it more difficult to tune in to your voice and learn new words when there is other talking going on in the background.

This means the TV can be a real problem for language learning.

Your baby will learn best if they have some regular time playing and talking with you, so try and turn off the TV during play time to reduce distractions.

2. Take turns

We all know body language is important, but it’s especially important for babies who can't talk yet!

Your baby is always trying to communicate with you, so keep an eye out for different gestures and facial expressions.

It’s important show your baby you’re ‘listening’ by responding when they do things like sticking their tongue out, reaching out their arms or clenching their fists.

You could repeat their actions or talk to them about what they’re doing. And when you say something, leave a gap for them to 'respond' too.

They won't reply in words, but they will 'reply' in their own way, and that's just as amazing.

This helps teach babies the basics of having a back and forth conversation (taking turns).

3. Take their lead

Babies are always discovering new things which are interesting to them – from big stuff like the blue sky above them, to little things like the belt on your dressing gown.

If you talk to your baby about all the different things that catch their attention, you’ll never run out of things to say.

And if you talk about the things that they’re focused on, they’re more likely to pick out the sounds and words faster, because they're learning about the things they want to know about.

So pay attention to what interests them and tell them all about it!

4. Sing songs

The repetition of simple songs and nursery rhymes helps to reinforce words and phrases for your baby.

Add in some actions and it’s likely your baby will eventually remember the songs and anticipate what’s coming.

And don’t worry, most of us can't sing to save our lives, so don't be embarrassed. You might sound like a fog horn, but your baby will always think you have the voice of an angel.

5. Face them

It’s important to get face to face with your baby and give them plenty of eye contact when you play.

You’ll be able to spot the little gestures they make when they're trying to communicate with you, and you'll find it easier to see what grabs their attention.

Plus, if they can see you, they'll be more interested when you talk.

Produced with help from Sheena Flack, an NHS Speech and Language Therapist based in Dundee.

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