Face to face

Holding your baby face-to-face and talking will make them feel safe.  When you look at each other, your baby will “talk” back to you – with movements or sounds.

If your baby can watch your face as you talk, he or she will learn from your expressions and also watch how you make sounds – this will help with learning how to speak.

Also, eye contact helps your baby pay attention for longer – especially if you are animated and use an interesting voice

Try these ideas and see how your baby responds – remember to pause and wait to give him or her time to respond:

  • talk to your baby during nappy changing – tell him or her what you’re doing, and what you are using.  Talk about how your baby might be feeling (“oooh, that’s cold!”) and watch what he or she is looking at so you can give the words for it
  • stick your tongue out and make funny faces – see if your baby can copy you
  • imitate your baby’s expressions and see if he or she responds
  • when your baby starts to try babbling sounds, imitate them and give them time to respond.  You’ll soon see them start to take turns with you .  Do the same when your baby starts to make sounds that seems to be attempts at words.  Don’t worry about the sounds being right at this stage, it does not matter
  • once your baby starts to make attempts at words (even if it does not sound like the adult version) talk back to them using the adult word so they can compare and learn.  There’s no need to try and get them to repeat the word back  – he or she will have a go when ready.  It is more important to keep the conversation going.