Most pediatricians talk about the importance of speaking to your baby, even when she is inside your womb. There are various reasons why doctors tell you this.
Your baby has an inherent need to talk.
Babies have an inborn need to communicate even when they are inside their mother’s womb. That is why otherwise illegible baby sounds like coo or aahaa are also very important for a baby.
At 2 months your little one makes vowel sounds: As young as 2 months your baby begins to speak in vowel sounds and make cooing noises.
At 6 months, consonant sounds get added: As she grows to 6 months of age she adds consonants to her vowel sounds. She begins to babble, making vowel-consonant combinations in long strings such as mamama, dadada and bababa etc.
At 10 months your baby imitates sounds: By this time your baby begins to experiment with the various vowel and consonant combinations, while imitating the sound she hears around her at all times. Very soon she begins to speak conventionally.
At 12 months the little one begins to express: By the time she is a year old, your little one develops enough social interaction and language skills to express to her parents what she wants. She learns to take directions from her mommy and daddy. At 12 months your baby’s vocabulary would be a few words.
At 18 months response in language starts: By the time your little one is well in to her second year she learns the art of response, using language. Her vocabulary also increases to around 10-15 words.
At 2 years babies learn to use the language better: As she completes her 2nd year, you are pleasantly surprised at how well she has learnt to use language to communicate, albeit with the help of physical gestures.
These milestones may be different for different babies due to varied growth patterns and also depends on the stimulus received from the environment
The importance of verbal communication for your little one.
Many factors in your baby’s growing up are influenced when you speak to her.
Verbal communication creates intimate bonds: When you speak to your baby, you not only express yourself, you also establish a close emotional and loving bond with her. It is your words through which she begins to understand your love for her. Your baby may not be able to understand the language you speak. Your words are like your touch in expressing your love and protectiveness.
Verbal communication improves your little one’s mental development: As your baby listens to you, she picks up the basic function and structure of language. On the other hand when you respond to her voice, she learns how to communicate in different ways to elicit different kinds of responses. The little one also learns that what she says is important to her mommy, gradually gaining more trust and confidence in you. In the process, she responds to what you say.
How do babies understand what you are saying?
There are various ways in which very young babies learn to understand what you are saying to them.
Babies learn from watching and listening: They not only listen to the words being spoken to them, but they also pay attention to the tone you are speaking in. They watch your eyes, your body movements and facial expressions. Very soon they realize that each sound carries a certain kind of meaning. As a result, even before the little one begins to speak, her comprehension and communication begins to develop with the help of the words you speak to her.
The little one learns best from imitating your sounds: Your baby’s language skills improve by listening and imitating the sounds you make. Soon, she connects sounds to pictures and eventually learns words.
Learning emotional expression helps in social and emotional development: Your baby learns different kinds of emotions and expressions you use when you speak to her. This develops emotionally and socially. She eventually learns to use similar expressions and emotions.
Begin to speak in clear language as soon as possible: Baby talk teaches your baby different expressions, but begin to speak to her in clear words as soon as possible. This way she learns the right word for the right action and emotion or thing.
Bilingual parents should teach both languages simultaneously: Teach the little one both languages at the same time. For instance, if one of you is using one language, the other parent must use the other language. Soon she is able to link words, activities, expressions and language with each parent. On the other hand, you can teach her to associate certain activities with one language, while certain others with the other language.
Most importantly create emotional connection: How you do it, when you do it, is always an important aspect of communicating with your little one. But remember, the most important thing is to establish the emotional connection.
Your baby has no better teacher than you in her early years. Be very sure about how you communicate with your baby as those are the stepping stones in the learning process. Follow these suggestions and your baby is going to grow up to be a sweet-talking kid!