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The Benefits of Talking to Your Baby

Baby Talk?

You can help your baby master the nuances of a difficult language and learn to speak without resorting to complicated phonics programs or rote repetitions of the names of objects. You only need to do two things: Talk to your baby and listen to her.

Your baby will learn language more quickly from you, her primary caretaker(s), than from anyone else. Because your baby knows you best, she's learned to recognize the way you speak: your tones, your inflections, your facial expressions. So talk around your baby and talk to your baby. Speak naturally and clearly (though you may want to slow down your speech slightly to make the words more distinctive).

Devote at least some time to talking to your baby one-on-one. Your baby will learn much more from direct conversation than she will by trying to follow a conversation that doesn't include her. Oh, she'll still listen to a two-way exchange and might pick up some valuable sounds and intonations, but any discussion that involves three or more people will probably confuse your baby. It's just too hard for a new listener to try to sort out sounds coming from all corners of a room.

When you talk to your baby, talk about the present as much as possible. Your baby's memory is not yet her strong suit. So talk about what's happening right here and now ("Wow! An airplane. Look up in the sky, Megan. It's an airplane.") Your baby can then form meaningful connections between what she's seeing or hearing or touching or tasting or smelling and what you're saying. Talking about what happened earlier will not necessarily evoke associations for your baby, unless of course you helped her make those associations by also talking about them when they were happening.



More on: Babies

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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