Becoming a parent brings with it plenty of responsibility. You brought a being into this world who is completely dependent on you and you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get it all done, leaving little if any extra time at the end of each day.
The good news is…supporting your baby’s speech and language development doesn’t require you to find extra time…NO EXTRA TIME! You can model and facilitate communication skills during your regular routines and play times.
Language skills begin to develop early.
Before he is even 2 months old, your baby stares intently at you and enjoys your attention.
By 6 months old, she watches your face as you talk, smiles in response to your smiles, and anticipates what will happen next.
By 9 months old he communicates non-verbally, uses sounds and gestures to get what he wants, and plays simple games.
It should come as no surprise that what your little one is most interested in is YOU! Take advantage of her natural interest in you to promote her attention and turn-taking skills… the skills needed to absorb speech and language modeled for her. Good attention and turn taking skills are the foundation of oral language development. Before learning to speak, your baby must learn to attend to others and take turns.
Here are 3 ways to promote good attention and turn-taking skills.
1. Follow your baby’s lead. Talk about what he is looking at. This helps him link sounds and words to the things he pays attention to. It also helps develop his confidence when he realizes you are interested in him and having fun with him. The more fun and interest you bring to playtime, the more he will pay attention to you.
2. Pause regularly inviting your baby to take her turn. Get face to face, lean in, and look at her as if you expect her to take a turn. This might be a small movement or sound. Repeat your baby’s sounds and encourage her to repeat your sounds. Acknowledge her turn and continue with this pattern of making a sound, pausing and acknowledging. You are having a conversation!
3. Tempt your baby with something you think he really wants. Hold two toys in front of him and encourage him to look at or reach for one of them. Name them for him and reinforce his choice. Pause a familiar activity or routine (a song, a rhyme, shaking a rattle, a repetitive knee bounce) and wait for him to indicate he wants you to continue.
Whether you are talking, singing, reciting nursery rhymes, reading or playing with your baby… Follow her lead, use the power of pause and tempt her to take a turn.
Check here for some great games you can play with your baby!