Talk With Me Baby
Did you know that 85% of brain growth occurs during the first three years of life? That’s an interesting fact, don’t you think? I recently learned the term “language nutrition”. What does that mean? It means healthy, loving words that feed a growing child’s brain and encourages neurons to grow and connect. We all talk to our babies but Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) is a relatively new concept that is inspiring children to read by third grade. How exciting is that? So, how do we get started? What do we need to do? Let’s take a look at some information and start feeding our children that all important, healthy language nutrition.
Changing our ways
Most of us think of talking to a baby as reverting back to our childhood and babbling. When we get caught doing baby talk, we feel a little silly. The truth is, we need to talk to the baby on a higher level and yes, even then it might feel or look silly, but it’s what the baby needs to stimulate the brain and grow those neurons that lead to language development. We need to step up how we talk and what we say. We need to take every opportunity to talk to our children.
My baby is communicating
When we think of communication, we automatically think of talking. Communication is far more than just talking. It includes listening, facial expression, and body language. There is an experiment that showed what the lack of communication does to a child. It’s very interesting. Here is a link to check it out for yourself. Still Face Experiment Watch the video. What did you think? What first appears as a happy baby just wanting to play suddenly turns into a learning experience for us, the adult.
Implementing Talk With Me Baby
In the morning, as you are getting your baby ready, talk with them about what you are doing. Walk them through the process. I’m changing your diaper. Fresh diapers make you feel good, don’t they? Let’s put on your pants… right leg, left leg… now let’s pull them up. Here we go with the shirt. Does a shirt go over your head? It sure does. Now let’s put our arms in… right arm, left arm, now pull it down. Good girl/boy. You helped me so much!
Ask questions and allow time for response, this is called the serve and return approach. Watch for reaction from your child. Look for eyes intently watching you. Watch for smiles, facial expression, and body language. Kicking feet means they are happy. Using the example above, ask your child, “Was that fun? Did you like getting dressed?”. How did the child respond? Based on their reaction, you state what they expressed. Oh, you didn’t like that at all or yes, you love getting dressed. By stating their response, you are teaching them how to respond verbally. You are recognizing their attempts at communicating with you.
Throughout the day and all of your daily tasks, there are many opportunities to talk with your baby. The grocery is a wonderful place to have a conversation! Tell them what you are doing, Mommy’s trying to find the best orange for you. Do you like oranges? Oranges are orange and round. Oranges are very sweet and delicious. Whoa… did we just say delicious to a baby? Yes, yes we did. Using larger words like delicious helps build their vocabulary.
Talk to your child using child-directed speech. Child-Directed Speech refers to the physically exaggerated and tonally high-pitched style of speech that adults use when talking to babies and young children. It’s using a sing-song method, facial expression, repetition, and body language and in overly exerted manner. It’s having fun talking to your child and him/her having fun talking with you.
TWMB tips and tricks
Like any good modern idea, TWMB is developing an app for our phones! Visit Talk With Me Baby to keep up with the latest update on the app.
You can also view the following videos which have a lot of great information in them.
How to Speak Parentese (good one for daddy)
To get a more in-depth understanding of language nutrition, please visit the research page of TWMB.
I hope you have come away from this article with the thought of, “What can I do to better communicate with my baby”. The more words they hear, the more recognition you give them in acknowledging their attempts to communicate with you, the better their life becomes.
Author: Belinda Davis ©2019