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How Does Your Baby Communicate?

By Too Small to Fail

Does your baby communicate? The answer is yes—from the moment he or she is born! Even though your baby might not be talking yet, your baby is communicating through crying, babbling, cooing and body movements. 

During all these interactions, your baby is communicating his or her needs, thoughts, and feelings. And as you build trust and strong bonds with your baby – whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or grandparent – you’ll be able to learn and better understand what your baby is trying to communicate to you. 

We know that it’s not always easy to guess what your baby is trying to tell you. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 helpful parent and caregiver tips to help you tune in and better understand and respond to your child’s cues, as well as foster your little one’s communication skills as you talk, read and sing to him or her!

Tips for Communicating with Your Baby

  • As you listen and respond to your baby, try using lots of facial expressions. When your baby is engaged, he is more interested in communicating!
  • An easy way to talk with your baby is to narrate your day  using words to describe the things you see and do together – this helps your child connect objects with actions!
  • Even if you may not be sure how much your child understands, talk, read, and sing together anyway! Your baby is absorbing all the words, stories and conversations you share together.

Tips for Communicating with Your Toddler

  • Gestures like pointing are an important part of language development. Engage in back-and-forth conversations with your little one about the gestures he/she is making so that he/she can connect the gestures with language. For example, when your little one points to her cup, you can say, “It looks like you want your blue cup.” and wait for a response. Then say “What would you like to drink? How about some water?”
  • To help connect names and objects with gestures, play games like “Simon Says”. You can say things like, “Simon says touch your little nose,” “Simon says touch the white front door,” or “Simon says give Mommy a big hug.”
  • By the age of 2, most children will be able to say roughly 50 words but remember, every child develops at his or her own pace. When you respond to your little one, try to emphasize the correct pronunciation of words and phrases.
  • Between the ages of 18-24 months, toddlers begin to use action words and will communicate through a combination of short phrases and gestures. Try to respond to your toddler in full sentences, while still also using gestures and facial expressions.

Get more tips at TalkingIsTeaching.org, PBS parents, KidsHealth.org, and HealthyChildren.org!

Have Fun with Sounds and Language with Sesame Street!

Listen to the fun sounds your baby makes and repeat them. This helps develop baby's speech and is the first step in talking! Watch this Sesame Street video with your baby, and then try to do the same with your littlest learner!

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