Wednesday 31 August 2016


Talk to Your Baby

The most important thing to do with your baby is to talk to your baby - alas I am not very good at that. Daddy FECS is much better at that. My mind is always thinking of the next chore to complete so that I can strike it from my to-do list, than talking with my baby. I am also better at doing any other activities with my baby, but they are all not as important as talking with my baby.

So I have decided that for the next one week, I will do nothing except to talk with my baby. I will make a conscious effort, and in order to help me to focus on getting into this habit, I will down prioritize all the other baby activities.

This post is a reminder to myself with the tips from 

How Do You Talk To Your Baby?

1. Do a running commentary

Don’t make a move, at least when you’re around your baby, without talking about it. Narrate the dressing process: ‘Now I’m putting on your nappy… here goes the T-shirt over your head… now I’m buttoning your dungarees.’ 

In the kitchen, describe the washing of the dishes, or the process of seasoning the pasta sauce. 

During the bath, explain about soap and rinsing, and that a shampoo makes the hair shiny and clean. 

It doesn’t matter that your baby hasn’t the slightest inkling of what you’re talking about. Blow-by-blow descriptions help get you talking and baby listening – thereby starting him or her on the path to understanding.

2. Ask a lot

Don’t wait until your baby starts having answers to start asking questions. Think of yourself as a reporter, your baby as an intriguing interviewee. The questions can be as varied as your day: ‘Would you like to wear the red trousers or the green dungarees?’ ‘Should I buy green beans or broccoli for dinner?’ Pause for an answer (one day your baby will surprise you with one), and then supply the answer yourself, our loud (‘Broccoli? Good choice’).

3. Give baby a chance

Studies show that infants whose parents talk with them rather than at them learn to talk earlier. Give your baby a chance to get in a coo, a gurgle or a giggle. In your running commentaries, be sure to leave some opening for baby’s comments.

4. Keep it simple – some of the time

Though right now your baby would probably derive listening pleasure from a dramatic recitation of Hamlet’s soliloquy or an animated assessment of the economy, as he or she gets a bit older, you’ll want to make it easier to pick out individual words. So at least part of the time, make a conscious effort to use simple sentences and phrases: ‘See the light,’ ‘Bye-bye’, ‘Baby’s finger, baby’s toes,’ and ‘Nice doggie’.

5. Put aside pronouns

It’s difficult for a baby to grasp that ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘you’ can be mummy, or daddy, or grandma, or even baby – depending on who’s talking. So most of the time, refer to yourself as ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ (or ‘grandma’) and to your baby by name: ‘Now Daddy is going to change Amanda’s nappy’.

6. Raise your pitch

Most babies prefer a high-pitched voice, which may be why women’s voices are usually naturally higher-pitched that men’s, and why most mothers’ (and fathers’) voice climb an octave or two when addressing their infants. Try raising your pitch when talking directly to your baby, and watch the reaction. (A few infants prefer a lower pitch; experiment to see which appeals to yours.)

7. Bring on the baby talk… or not

If the silly stuff (‘Who’s my little bunny-wunny?’) comes naturally to you, babble away in baby talk. If it doesn’t, feel free to skip it. If you’re big on baby talk, don’t forget to throw some correct, more adult English into your conversations with your infant, too, so that he or she won’t growing up thinking all words end with a y or ie.

8. Stick to the here and now

Though you can muse about almost anything to your baby, there won’t be any noticeable comprehension for a while. As comprehension does develop, you will want to stick more to what the baby can see or is experiencing to the moment. A young baby doesn’t have a memory for the past or a concept of the future.

9. Imitate

Babies love the flattery that comes with imitation. When baby coos, coo back; when he or she utters an ‘Ahh’, utter one, too Imitation will quickly become a game that you’ll both enjoy, and which will set the foundation for baby’s imitating your language – it will also help build self-esteem (‘What I say matters!’).

10. Take your cues from baby

Incessant chatter and song can be tiresome for anyone, even an infant. When your baby becomes inattentive to your wordplay, closes or averts his or her eyes, become fussy or cranky, or otherwise indicates the verbal saturation point has been reached, give it a rest.


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