Talking to your baby
Even when your child is very young, they want to talk – they just don’t know how. You might not be able to figure out their baby babble just yet, but you can still have great conversations.
Squeaks, squeals, gurgles and giggles – keep celebrating every time your baby tries a new sound. This lets them know how proud you are of them. It’s all the encouragement they need to keep learning new things. When your baby is only months old it’s good to be close to their face - less than 30cm away – so they can see you properly too. That will allow them to mimic your facial expressions.
Adults talk to babies in the same way all over the world. They use many silly words and funny high-pitched voices. Babies make different sounds. Copying the babbling, gurgling and giggling sounds they make, is a smart way to get attention. Chances are, you might get a reply. Don’t be afraid to sound silly, your child will love it. You’re encouraging your baby to talk to you, and also showing them how people take turns to talk.
When you’ve got nothing important to say – why not say it anyway. Small talk is perfect for a wee chat. The weather, the football, TV programmes... talk about anything, any time.
You can use 'small talk' just to tell to your baby what's happening. For example, changing their nappy, going shopping or visiting granny. To your baby, this is important news. You could even say what they're doing too: "Look! You're smiling."
Tone of voice
Your child is new to words and sentences, so how you say things is just as important as what you’re actually saying. It’s incredible how much you can say without saying very much at all. Encouraging words spoken with a smile in gentle, positive tones will let your child know they’ve done well, that you’re pleased with them and that you love them.
There will be times when you have to use a more stern tone of voice to warn your child away from danger or to let them know that they have done something wrong. Just remember to heap on the praise when they learn what is right.
Information based on similar messages from Play Talk Read Scotland.