Encourage your baby’s speech – 7 tips for language development

Babies love closeness and seek contact from the moment they’re born. Here are 7 simple tips for encouraging your baby’s language development and forming an early bond with your baby.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Staying close to parents encourages a baby’s language development and strengthens bonding.
Babies think hands are hugely exciting, and songs involving your and your baby’s hands are fun for babies.
Photo: BabyBjörn

Many people think that baby language development starts when a child says their first word. And you may think your tiny baby doesn’t understand a word you say. But your baby understands more than you think! Your newborn has a wondrous way of interpreting your body language and tone of voice.

Many people think that baby language development starts when a child says their first word.

So, by all means talk to your baby even if you clearly won’t get the response you would from a grown-up. Make a habit of commenting on what you’re doing, like “Let’s change your diaper, I bet that’ll feel better.”

Read more: Infant attachment explained

How to encourage your baby’s speech – 7 tips for language development

  1. Carry your baby as often as you can so the two of you get plenty of close contact.
  2. Talk to your baby – even if your baby doesn’t understand what you’re saying.
  3. Vary the tone of voice you use to talk to your baby.
  4. Gesticulate while you talk – it makes the conversation even more exciting.
  5. Play games like peek-a-boo, sing children’s songs and gently tickle your baby.
  6. Stick your tongue out, wait a second or two and be amazed when your baby imitates you!
  7. Show you’re listening by speaking in a soothing voice, carrying your baby and stroking their back.

Tickling games and nursery rhymes – baby talk that’s fun

Vary your tone when you talk – newborn babies tend to prefer a lighter tone of voice.

“Babies like routines because they give the baby a sense of having some control over their surroundings,” explains baby researcher Gustaf Gredebäck at the Uppsala Child and Baby Lab. Nursery rhymes and songs are usually popular because they’re predictable yet exciting at the same time. Lullabies that work

Interacting with a baby by touch helps the baby to develop their body image. Babies think hands are hugely exciting, and songs involving your and your baby’s hands are fun for babies.

A baby as young as one month old is capable of taking turns.

There are amazing things to learn about speech development milestones in babies. A baby as young as one month old is capable of taking turns. They listen to what you say, answer in their own way, listen to your response and then reply to that.

To become even more interesting when you talk to your baby and stimulate your baby’s language development, gesticulate while you talk. And keep in mind that the best distance to see faces is at about 12 inches.

Read also:  3 books with stories for young children

About the expert in this article

The quotes come from Dr. Gustaf Gredebäck, professor of developmental psychology at Uppsala University in Sweden. Dr. Gredebäck is also the director of the Uppsala Child and Baby Lab, where he his team study how children perceive their surroundings, and explore how children develop different abilities.

About baby language development

  • Two-hour-old babies want to communicate.
  • 12 inches is the best distance for seeing a face – for both newborns and grown-ups.
  • Six-week-old babies smile spontaneously when they see a face.
  • A one-month-old baby begins taking turns.
  • Two-month-old babies have learned to adapt their communication to the person they are communicating with.