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Best way to talk to help with language development

During the first year of your baby's life, he will prefer one activity above all others: having a conversation with you. Of course, your baby won't be able to talk yet, but he is communicating through eye contact, facial expressions, crying, smiles, and touch.

But we know that having a one-sided conversation can get a little boring and uninspired, but take advantage of everyday moments like mealtime, bath time, getting dressed, and playtime to talk to your baby and help develop his language skills.

Here's how:

Describe: Talk about what you are doing, where you are, and what you see. For example, when you are outside, describe the road you're walking down, the warm sun shining on your face, or the cool breeze blowing through the trees. Descriptive language is an excellent way to introduce new words.

Ask: Ask your baby open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, why). Even if your baby can't respond, it will help you answer for them with complete sentences, using new and descriptive words.

Respond: Listen to the sounds your baby makes and pay attention to the way he moves his body, and respond accordingly. For example, if your baby is turning his head away from a toy, you can tell him, "O, I see you don't want to play with that right now. What else can mommy give you that will make you excited?" and offer a new toy.

Read: A simple way to introduce new and unusual words and build vocabulary is by telling stories or reading books. Picture books (or even books in a different language) will encourage you to come up with a new story each time, thereby introducing new words.

Repeat: Repeat words or echo the sounds your baby is making. This helps them understand that you are speaking the same language and that his actions will get a response from you.

Just remember to speak at a slightly slower pace about what's happening so that your baby can hear the separation between words and sounds. 

Refer back toBuilding your baby's brain - one word at a time (Month 2) for a refresher on how language can help build your baby's brain.

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