Read to him. Studies have shown that children who were read to as newborns have a larger vocabulary than other kids their age. There’s also a direct link between how many words a baby hears each day and her language skills. The best part? Because your newborn can’t understand much right now, you can read anything you want to her, so hold off on the children’s books until she gets older and choose something you’ll enjoy now!
Talk it out. Another study found that babies whose parents spoke to them a lot scored higher on standard tests when they reached age 3 than children whose parents weren’t as verbal. “The most important way to develop your child’s language is by talking to her,” says Lauren Krause, Chief of Speech-Language Pathology at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago. “In fact, 90 percent of kids learn words through repeating and imitating their parents and others around them.”
Sing. Nursery rhymes, lullabies, or even your favorite Adele song are great ways to open the lines of communication with baby and expose him to new words and sounds. Don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune–your child doesn’t care!
Minimize baby talk. You don’t have to give it up completely (it’s hard to resist when you’re looking at that face!), but you want to use your own words and language as much as possible so baby can soak it up.
Point out objects. The next time you go for a walk, identify certain objects for your child–a bird, a flower, a car, etc–to familiarize your baby with these everyday words.
Make funny sounds. Not all communication has to be actual words. Wiggling your tongue, making strange sounds, and blowing saliva bubbles are good for baby’s speech development. If he sees you do it, chances are good he’ll start to mimic that behavior.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.