Sun, 03 Aug 2003

Helping babies develop communication skills

Babies experience language the moment they enter the world, from hearing the voices of those around them.

Babies even learn to communicate immediately by crying. But it is the cooing and babbling they do that lets us know they are growing and learning.

To help your baby learn to communicate, talk to her, sing to her, and read to her. Surround her with language; try turning on a radio to let her listen to the words in songs and broadcasts.

At this stage in their development, babies learn that it is fun to be with other people. They learn that gestures and actions are a form of communication and begin to say a few "real" words.

Below are tips provided by to help develop your babies' communication skills:

* Help your baby learn to take turns the way people do when they talk with each other. Sing songs and play games such as Peek-a- Boo, hiding the toy under the blanket, and handing objects back and forth. At first you may have to take more turns than your baby does. * When your baby babbles, talk back to her. Repeat the sounds she makes or teach her new ones. * Respond when your baby wants to play a familiar game: "Oh good, you brought me the ball. Let's sit down and roll it on the carpet." * Respond when your baby shakes his or her head, points to something out of reach, or lifts his or her arms. Talk about what she seems to want to say. "Do you want to get out of my lap? Here's a wet cloth so you can wipe your hands." * Name the things your baby points to. Use words for feelings and actions. "Aunt Nikki is funny, isn't she?" "I saw you climb up the stairs." * Show excitement when your baby begins to talk. Talk with her about the names of objects, actions, and feelings. * Look at and listen to things with your baby. Talk about what you see and hear. "See the bird? She's flying up to her nest in the tree. Do you hear the truck? I'll lift you up to the window so you can see it." * Play telephone with your baby. Each time the phone rings in your house, say to your baby, "That's the phone, Sita. We'd better answer it." Once you start chatting on the phone, let your baby sit on your lap while you talk. If your child knows the person on the phone, give your baby a chance to listen and talk. * Sing a song like the English-language Head and Shoulders with your baby to teach him to identify his body parts. As you mention a body part, touch that place on his body.

-- Sri Ramadani