Just as you are endlessly fascinated by your little bundle of joy, they too feel the same way about you! They love to look at you while you talk on the phone, play with your hair or glasses, and are always engaging with you in some way or another, even if they might not be able to understand what you are saying. Just as you love stroking their cheeks, they love hearing you speak.
Here are 3 simple ways to start connecting with your baby, and laying down the foundation for effective communication skills.
Go ahead and start talking
it might seem a little silly to speak to your baby, but the reality is that they love the sound of your voice. Research has shown that newborns are more sensitive to higher-pitched voices, perhaps because they could hear their mother talk while in the womb. It also establishes the basis for later language development.
Talking to your baby not only helps them associate your voice and face, it also teaches them what is truly important about social communication. So, while chatting with your baby, they might pick up on the message you are trying to send, which is, “I love you, and you are very important to me.”
So go ahead and have a conversation with your little one, it could be about anything, from the book you’re reading to the weather outside. It’s never too early to start talking to them!
Listen and respond
By the time babies are a month or two old, they often begin to make some sounds of their own. A baby may say “ah” or “eh” or just make noises with the tongue. As primitive as these noises are, they are the first steps toward language. You as a parent can respond by imitating these little noises. The newborn occasionally repeats the sound, and before you know it, you have a little conversation going! This is a fascinating game for your baby, one that will encourage communication with you.
When babies get too tired, too hungry or too restless to socialize any longer, they say so by crying or tuning out efforts to engage them. Be sensitive to such signals, and you’ll soon learn your baby’s own personal style of communicating.
Anytime is the right time
Don’t feel like you must limit the talking and playing only at certain times, you can use any chance to communicate with them. The best time for a chat is when babies are awake and alert, and that’s usually when they’re being bathed, changed or dressed; they’re perfect occasions for socializing and getting your baby to have a conversation.
As your baby lies there looking up at you, you can talk softly, tickle their tummy very gently or just lean over and coo. Keep their favourite toys nearby if that’s what will keep them engaged during such times.
Credit: 2019 Kimberly-Clark (Huggies)