What does communication mean for you? For a baby who cannot speak, communication is a connection. This can be through funny sounds, smiles or in the way they move.
Your baby’s first year will see so many changes in their communication skills, from their first smile, responding in coos or gurgles to their first word; it’s an incredibly exciting time!
Why should you focus on communication?
Before your baby learns to speak, they learn to understand the meaning of what you’re saying to them. Babies learn emotional tones quite early on in their lives.
Play with sounds
Don’t be afraid to get silly! Babies love to hear you talk and you may see them respond to you by smiling, laughing or even waving their arms around. Singing is a great way to play with sound as your voice varies in pitch and volume. Thankfully you don’t have to sing like Ariana Grande for your baby to appreciate it, phew!
Smiling at your baby especially when they are gurgling, and babbling is a great way to encourage their early attempts at verbal communication. Pulling funny faces or playing peek-a-boo helps your baby to associate different facial movements with different emotions.
Talk to them
Talk, talk and talk some more! Talk to them throughout the day. Talk as you’re dressing, carrying, and feeding them. This will help your baby to associate these sounds. As babies learn to speak through imitating sounds, they hear.
Respond when they communicate
Communication is a two-way street. When your baby is communicating to you through silly sounds, gestures or just using just one word, always respond to them. By responding it can encourage them to develop their listening skills (the sooner they learn to listen, the better! It might help those incoming toddler years!)
Try to read to your baby every day. Not only is it incredibly beneficial for developing their communication skills, but reading aloud to your baby is a wonderful bonding activity. Your baby will hear your voice and feel close to you. Choose books with bright colours, textures, and large images. Encourage them when they touch, look, point, and babble along.
Have fun and enjoy these early bonding moments with your little one!
If you become concerned that your baby is not hitting their developmental milestones, make sure to consult your GP.