Talking about what you're doing
Sometimes you might think there is nothing talk about with your child, but you can talk about anything. By matching words with actions in everyday tasks you’re helping them learn new words and about the world around them. Tell them about what you’re doing when you prepare meals or tidy up.
Talk and listen
Leave a few more gaps when you’re speaking to your child or after you ask a question, and then listen.
It doesn’t just show you’re paying attention, it shows you understand they want to communicate with you. Sometimes they will respond by giggling, making a noise or physical gesture. Other times they may do nothing. As they get older they will eventually fill the gaps with words and sentences. What a great reward for taking the time to listen.
Talking as they grow
Gurgles and babbles soon grow into those exciting first words, and then into a conversation. You can talk to children at any age.
A baby hearing their mother's voice
Your baby knows you and your voice - it signals love and security to them (they’ve been listening to your voice since before they were born).
Listening to you doesn’t just help with words and language. Hearing your voice also helps your child feel safe and loved – and that’s a real foundation for facing the world with confidence.
Learning words by repetition
What do you do when you want to memorise something? You repeat it over and over. That’s how your child remembers words – by hearing words said again and again.
If your child sees a cat, keep using the word 'cat' in different sentences: “Oh look, there’s a cat. Yes, it’s a cat. What a lovely cat.” This repetition helps your toddler remember the word and link it with what they see.
Your baby's first words
Hugs, kisses and high-fives. You have many ways to show your child how thrilled you are when they try a new word. They get a big boost every time you let them know you’re proud of them.
You’re also encouraging them to learn more words. It’s important to do this when they are making attempts to speak as well.
More useful links
Information based on similar messages from Play Talk Read Scotland.