As mums most of us can’t wait until our little one says their very first word and starts to talk. However, you don’t have to wait until they’ve said ‘Da-da’ to start communicating with them.
There are plenty of ways to not only talk to your little one but also encourage them to say a few words as well.
1. Smile at them
Smiling at your baby is a great way to communicate to them that they are in safe hands. In particular, do it while they are gurgling or making any kind of noise to encourage them to make more sounds.
2. Look at them
Simple eye contact is one of the most effective ways to help your baby feel secure, so always look at your little one directly when you are talking to them. The more you look at them the more they will want to engage you.
3. Imitate them
While you’ll probably end up telling them off for imitating others when they are older, it is a great way to help them learn words. So, for example, if they say 'goo-goo’, you copy it and wait for them to say it again.
4. Mirror their facial expressions
Copy the expressions they use to help them understand what it is they are doing.
5. Talk, talk, talk
Talk to your little one as much as possible, always maintaining eye contact and animated expressions.
6. Read everything and anything
If you have run out of things to say (yes, it can happen!) read to them. Books, leaflets and even the TV guide will help keep the conversation going.
7. Describe EVERYTHING that you are doing
Whether you are cooking, eating or even cleaning the bathroom, describe everything that you are doing to your little one. From ‘I’m going to get the cloth’ to ‘these peppers are a gorgeous red colour’, every word that you say will help your child.
8. Connect words with actions
Connecting words to actions is important for language develop. For instance, clap your hands and say 'well done', speak for them when they point at something and say 'bye-bye' when they wave.