Communicating With Your Baby
Babies are like little sponges! They absorb everything they see and hear around them. Did you know that your unborn baby can recognise your voice and that when your baby is born he/she will prefer their parent’s voices over the voices of strangers? Here are a few ideas on how you can start early communication with your little one and how to carry it on into the early years.
- Choose a song that you like, something easy, maybe a lullaby.
- Sing the song every day to your unborn baby, your partner can sing along with you.
- When your baby is born sing the song, close to his/her ear. Your baby will recognise your voice and the song!
- Sing every day especially if your baby needs comforting, maybe when changing the nappy or bathing or if you are driving and your baby is in the car seat.
- As your baby gets a little older introduce books, choose books with lots of different colours and exciting pictures.
- Don’t just read the words, point out the different colours, shapes and pictures as you flip from page to page. A great book to read together is ‘The Flying Bath’ by Julia Donaldson, full of colourful, detailed and creative illustrations to inspire your child’s imagination.
- Narrate your life. Talking out loud to your baby helps them develop a vocabulary and learn communication skills. It might feel awkward talking to someone who can’t talk back, but talk to them about walking “up the stairs” or “mummy’s cooking dinner!”
- Point out what you see. This is especially fun whilst going for walks or when out shopping. Point out when you see interesting things (“daddy sees a doggy” or “now we’re getting into our car to go to the shops.”)
- Ask and answer questions. This is a habit you can get into early, and soon you’ll be speaking in Q&A. For example, “there’s a cat! What does a cat say? Cats say meow!” Or “What should we buy at the shop? Our family needs milk and bread.” Before you know it, you’ll ask a question and your baby will give you the answers.
- Smell the flowers and even look at the bugs! Remember that your baby sees the world from a different angle than you. Slow your pace and stop to notice ants, “itsy bitsy spiders,” different flowers, birds in the sky, air planes going by. Soon they’ll be pointing these things out to you!
When parents sing one or two songs repeatedly to their baby, before and after birth, it is a fantastic opportunity to build a unique, meaningful and fun connection with their child. The child already knows and loves the song as sung by his/her parents more than any other song, sung by anyone else. Parents always have their voice with them and can use it to comfort, soothe, and play with their child for years to come.
Singing and reading to your baby before and after birth is not only a lovely and very special thing to do, but it can also strengthen your babies language skills, literacy development, and create a wonderful parent-child relationship.