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Why Talking to your Baby is Best

The benefits of Touching, Talking, Reading, and Playing (TTRP) with your young child are monumental, promoting brain development and preparing her for a successful life as an adult.  

Even before a baby is born, she is processing the sounds of her environment. At birth, her vision is limited, but sounds connect her to her new world and the people in it. Throughout infancy, the familiar voices of parents and caregivers make her feel safe and secure. They also boost the language skills that are already developing in the first months of life. Verbal stimulation in the early years has benefits that endure through childhood.

 

Talking Promotes Language Learning

Vocabulary and comprehension skills are a key aspect of school readiness, but their development begins in infancy. Long before babies understand the meanings of words, verbal stimulation is important for early language skills. By the time a baby is born, she can recognize her mother’s voice, and research indicates she may even recognize the familiar sounds and rhythms of stories her mother read aloud to her during pregnancy. 

Your newborn is already learning, from your speech, facial expressions, and body language. Before long, she’ll be trying to make sounds and syllables. Acknowledge her early attempts to communicate by responding to her pre-verbal cooing and babbling. 

The second year of life is a big one for language development. Most kids will toss around two-word phrases at around 18 months, and have a handle on a couple hundred words just six months later. This is a great time to engage your child in the world around her. “What’s your Dad doing?” “Where did the cat go?” “Is that carrot crunchy or soft?” 

Your 3-year-old is beginning to thread together longer, understandable sentences. Have fun with language. Sing songs, make rhymes, read poems. It’s also a good time to begin equipping her with language tools that help solve problems without screaming or hitting. Praise her when she uses words rather than negative behaviors.

 

Talking Contributes To Baby’s Emotional Well-Being

Talk is also important for emotional development. In a baby’s first year, attachment and security are critical. Parental language plays a central role in promoting his sense of well-being and, in turn, later social and behavioral adjustment. He needs to know you’re there. Comfort him when he cries and respond to his signals for help or attention. Even before he knows the meanings of your words, a soothing tone assures him that he is safe and loved.

As he approaches the toddler years, he’s becoming a more sophisticated communicator and a more independent learner. As he explores his world, be there with helpful support and let him know he may be independent, but he isn’t alone. He’s bound to get frustrated as he learns new life skills. When he uses a new word or verbally expresses a thought or frustration, let him know you understand and are proud of him. Help him talk through problems without making decisions for him.

 

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The Urban Child Institute wants you to share your brain-building family time on Facebook. "Like" The Urban Child Institute on Facebook, and start tagging us in photos of you and your kids engaging in TTRP time.

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