Nurturing a baby's speech and language development

Here are some ways to stimulate your child's speech and language development:

  • Talk to your infant using "baby talk." The higher pitch, slower speech, and emphasis placed on certain words draw attention. Most adults naturally talk with babies this way.
  • Talk with your older infant as you would talk to an adult. Use clear words and phrases.
  • Talk with your baby while you are doing your normal activities. For example, say, "Let's walk over to your changing table—I want to get my watch" or "Look out the window at the colorful trees."
  • Play games such as peekaboo.
  • Read and sing to your baby, and play music.

You can encourage your baby when he or she starts to make sounds by:

  • Repeating a sound to your baby and adding words that begin with that sound. For example, if your baby says "ma," repeat it to him or her and then say "mama."
  • Offering your baby new words such as "baby," "cat," "dog," "go," "hot," and "cold."

Last Updated: December 5, 2008

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