Every Word Counts!

Is there anything more amazing than a baby’s gurgles, coos or moves?  Those coos and Barbara_finalwebbabble are the sounds of her repeating back the sounds she hears. They are a vital part of your baby’s language development and are the beginnings of her first words.

Help your baby grow in her ability to talk by lovingly talking right back to her. When she says the sounds “Oooo” or “aaaah”, for example, gently coo them back at her so she can hear you say the sounds she’s making.

Research studies tell us that everything we say to our baby matters—simply repeating her “coos” back to her and more.  It has also been shown that it is important for us to use words—talk in sentences—when we respond to those sounds that our baby makes. The more we talk to our baby, the better.

Here’s a meaningful finding: The greater the number of words children hear from their parents or caregivers before they are 3 years old, the higher the babies’ IQ and the better they do in school.

So even if your first reaction to talking to your infant is to feel foolish talking to her because she will not use “words” to respond to you yet, tell yourself that you are wisely helping your baby’s brain grow by doing so.

Here’s an easy example of the words I’d say to my baby while changing her diaper:

  • I would tell her what I was doing by saying, “Mommy is going to put this diaper on you, so you can feel nice and dry!”
  • She would usually squirm and kick her legs when I was trying to diaper her, so I would calmly and sweetly say, “I know it’s hard to stay on your back while I do this!” The sound of my voice and my calm tone seemed to soothe her, as did my looking lovingly at her eyes while I diapered her.
  • When I was done, I would say, “All done diapering!” and give her a hug and kiss. I could tell she felt better because she was clean and comfortable, which made me feel good, too!

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Written by Barbara Unell, Author

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