There’s more to speaking than just words. Your baby will begin to learn about communication long before they start speaking.
You can begin to have conversations with your baby from the very beginning. When your baby cries, babbles, gurgles, or laughs, they’re trying to communicate with you. When you respond, you are teaching your baby how to have a conversation, and how to communicate their needs and feelings.
Try to find time each day to chat to your baby. Every conversation you have with them will be supporting their language development.
First conversations with your baby
This activity helps babies begin to learn how back and forth communication works through facial expressions and responding to others.
You can play this activity at home, in the park, on the bus – wherever you are:
- Place your baby in front of you – not too far away so they can see you easily.
- Face your baby. Wait until they are looking at you. Now have some fun!
- Stick out your tongue. Wait a moment, then try again. Keep doing it and see if baby copies you.
- If your baby copies you, stick out your tongue again. You can try pulling faces or making little noises too.
- Watch carefully to see your baby's response. If they like something, do it again.
- See if you can make them smile or laugh!
When your baby starts to babble more, it's the perfect opportunity to chat even more, by copying their sounds.
When you have conversations with your baby it’s important to let them respond in their own time. Make sure you give them some thinking time while you wait for them to respond to you.
You might feel a little silly playing this game, but your baby will love it, and it will help them learn about communicating back and forth. They will learn about responding to people and taking turns. After all, this is how conversations work!
Good to know
Communicating with your face or body is a very important part of building relationships and learning language. By imitating your baby, you'll be sending them an important message: that what they are feeling and trying to communicate, matters to you.