Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Importance of Talking to Babies—Part Two: Ways to Expose Babies to Language

Last week, we discussed why exposure to language is so critical to a baby’s language development. Now we’re going to explore the ways to do it!

There are so many wonderful ways to expose your baby to language during the early stages of development! Here are some ideas:
  1. Sing! 
  2. Read. It’s not always easy, but reading to your baby for even a short period every day is a wonderful way to foster healthy language development. Through reading, your baby hears the inflections in your voice as you tell a story. Reading exposed children to language you may not always use in everyday encounters (I can think of a few words I have never said outside of reading a children’s book!). 
  3. Expose babies to multi-languages early. Babies and young children are able to pick up second languages much more readily than adults. If you have this option, embrace it! Some people worry about language confusion; in my experience as a pediatrician this has not been an issue. For those of us who remember 9th grade Spanish or French class, learning languages young sounds really appealing! 
  4. Talk and walk. Strolling and pointing out trees, colors, birds, sounds (”Hear the truck?”) and people is a wonderful way to connect words with tangible objects. 
  5. Talk more. Talk when you cook. Talk when you shop. Talk when you clean up. Throw in a “See how mommy cleans up the toys? When you walk you are going to help me, right?” Please let me know if that works!

One Sassy Doctor suggests: