Did you know that babies practice talking long before they say their first words. This week’s tip, BABBLE MATTERS, is about the importance of baby’s coos and goos. As it turns out, goo goo ga ga isn’t just adorable, it’s the foundation for later language success.
WHO: Parents, caregivers, older siblings, grandparents… ANYONE who interacts with the baby!
WHAT: Respond to your baby when he babbles.
WHERE: Anywhere! But remember that your baby will hear you best in a quiet environment.
WHEN: Any time! But you know your baby best — when is he happiest and most likely to babble? That’s prime time for baby-parent interaction.
WHY: Research (see Quittener et al., 2013) shows that when adults in the baby’s environment are more sensitive to the baby’s vocal cues (e.g. responding when the baby babbles and taking verbal turns), babies tend to talk more and have better language outcomes.
HOW: If you hear your baby make a noise, even if you think he made the noise by accident, repeat it back to him. You don’t need to yell, but make sure your baby is wearing his hearing technology and that you’re using a clear, strong voice. Make your voice interesting to listen to by changing your pitch or using a sing-song intonation. This will catch the baby’s attention. Remember to slow down so the baby has a chance to hear what you’re saying and so his brain has time to process your wonderful language input!