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It was in the month of September when we brought out daughter from the hospital. We were inexperienced parents that time and my parents had come to help me raise the baby. My mother would often say, “Talk to your baby often.” And I would wonder how chatting with a baby that is a one-sided affair help to enhance the language development skills? But now I understand what a wonderful advice it was. By the time my daughter was one year old, she was able to communicate her needs very clearly. She used her eyes, hands, legs and facial expressions to interact with the people around her. And by the time she was two, she had a good vocabulary and knew many words, which other children missed.
During the first years of a child’s life, the brain develops rapidly and lays the foundation of learning. Early communication skills are crucial for the child’s success in school and this includes the ability to understand others and to express oneself. Kids having a strong communication skill are more likely to learn easily and have fewer difficulties while learning to read. Talking and understanding others often help little kids to make friends fast and enjoy life to the full. So in this piece of writing let us discuss how to encourage little infants and help them learn to communicate.
Research says that the brain is more flexible in little children and this plasticity is connected to a critical period of learning a language. This is the best period when the child learns to communicate and at the age of eight or nine, this ability begins to shut down. So, it is best to talk to your baby from the day he or she is born as this will encourage the little one to develop the communication skills easily. But how can you start to develop this skill so early? Here are a few interesting tips to follow:
Talk to your baby a lot: Babies often respond to adults who talk to them, make eye contact and even touch them. Even if they do not speak, they love to listen to sounds and try to make the same noise as yours.
Catch your child’s attention: Face your child and make eye contact. Talk about something that both of you can see and help your baby to learn what they are. Respond to your baby’s babbles and allow her to talk. Show her photographs, toys and colorful items to draw attention.
Using new words: Explain your baby different things and tell her what you are doing. This will help her to identify actions and increase the vocabulary. Use lots of new and simple words while talking to increase the vocabulary.
Repeat what you say: It is good to say the same words again and again. Little babies need to hear words and particular sentences many times to understand and learn them. Repeating specific words whether it is a ‘La La’ shows that you are interested in the words that are important.
Make them listen clearly: It is better to turn off any music or TV to help your child focus on what you are telling. Adding one or two words clearly will help your child to move on to the next stage of talking.
Respond to gestures: Once your baby is a few months old, she will try to use gestures to communicate. Try to understand if your child is trying to say ‘no’ by shaking head or pointing a finger for a toy. Your answer to her gestures will encourage her to act fast.
Read to your child: Read story books to your child and talk about the illustrations while looking at the book together. Ask her to point to specific objects to lay the foundation of learning.
Encourage language development in your baby as much possible by talking to her and commenting on various activities that you do together. Language is best learned when it is relevant and interesting.