Help your baby to communicate
- Keep an eye out for the efforts she makes to get your attention, such as blinking and making hand movements.
- Watch how she begins to learn turn-taking in conversation, as she observes you talking to other people.
- Caress, cuddle, kiss, stroke and massage her so she feels loved and secure.
- Spend time having skin-to-skin contact, at any time of day, to calm and relax you both.
- Talk, talk, talk! As you go about your daily routine with her, say things out loud like “You look hungry” or “It’s time for your nap now”.
Encourage your baby to listen
- Shhh. Turn off the phone and TV for at least an hour a day to help your baby listen and focus on your voice.
- Play face to face. This lets him watch expressions and copy what you do.
- Take turns making sounds. Babies love repetition; it helps learning and also encourages the art of turn-taking in conversation.
- Let him choose. During quiet time, let your baby pick the toys and books he wants and follow his lead.
- Communicate. Always tell your baby what you’ve planned, be it a nappy change, meal or sleep time. In time it’ll help him decode speech and motivate communication.
Make crawling safe for your baby
- Fit safety gates to stairs to stop little ones climbing up and falling down.
- Keep low furniture away from windows and fit your windows with locks to make sure your baby can’t climb out.
- Secure kitchen cupboards with safety catches to avoid tots getting into them, especially where household bleaches, detergents and alcohol are stored.
- Place guards around gas, electric and open fireplaces so your baby can’t burn himself.
- Make sure electric flexes are out of reach so babies can’t pull appliances on to themselves, and fit socket covers to keep inquisitive fingers out.
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Help develop your baby’s speech
- Use gestures when you speak such as waving when you say goodbye, as this helps explain meaning.
- Chat to your baby about your day telling him when it’s time for lunch or a nap so he can put activities to words.
- Make eye contact when he babbles and smile to give him confidence.
- Sing nursery rhymes and play a variety of styles of music as rhythm and repetition are the basis of language.
- Build silence into your day as a baby needs time to process all he’s learned.