If you’re a parent or caregiver, have you found yourself talking to your baby as you’ve changed their diaper?
Do you sometimes hear parents in the grocery story talking to their infants about what they’re buying or the things they see, even though the baby is too young to understand?
This instinct to talk, sing, and point with our babies and young children may seem silly. If you’ve been surprised to find yourself singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider while buttoning a onesie, we have good news:
Talking, singing, and pointing with your baby are actually some of the most important things you can do to build a strong and healthy brain!
Children learn language from the moment they are born. Day by day, babies learn that sounds have meaning. Every time you talk, sing or point to what you are talking about, you provide clues to the meaning of what you are saying.
Talking is teaching.
We neglect the power and significance of interactions like talking, singing and pointing with our young children because they seem so simple. But the simplicity is what makes it so wonderful. Anyone can do this, regardless of education, income, or singing ability. (Thank goodness.)
This is why “Talking, Singing and Pointing” is the second of the 5 Basics.
If you’re new here, the Palmetto Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every parent can give every child a great start in life!
80% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. We want to help parents and caregivers seize the opportunity of these early years and provide a foundation for all future learning.
The best thing about the Basics is that you can incorporate them into family life every single day. Being responsive to your baby’s needs, talking as you go through the day, counting their toes, giving them opportunity to play, enjoying books together – these simple activities matter more than you realize.
Here are six everyday ways you can talk, sing and point with your baby or toddler:
1. Talk a lot.
Talk to your baby during activities like changing, feeding, bathing, and errands. Describe what you are doing. Name and point to the objects around you.
2. Add ideas.
Help grow your child’s “word bank” by expanding on what he says. For example, if he says “doggie,” you can respond with, “Yes, that is a doggie. That doggie is brown and soft.”
3. Use your hands.
When you talk about something, point to it. This helps your child understand what you mean. Encourage your child to point, too. “Can you point to the triangle?” This will help them connect words to objects.
4. Sing and recite.
Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. Choose ones you remember from your own childhood, read in books, or make up new ones.
5. Go back and forth.
When your baby makes a sound, show excitement in your face and voice! Respond to their sound with words and see how long you can keep the “conversation” going.
6. Listen and respond.
Listen to your toddler’s questions and answer them. Have a conversation. This is when the most powerful learning takes place.
We're choosing one Basic a month, sharing an overview here on the blog and other resources you don't want to miss through social media.
Here are some resources that can help you on your journey:
- Watch this short video for encouraging ways that real parents are Talking, Singing and Pointing with their little ones.
- Visit the “Talk, Sing, and Point” page and click on the tips at the bottom of the page for Infants 0-12 months and Toddlers 12-24 months.
- Receive regular, FREE resources from The Palmetto Basics.
- Follow The Palmetto Basics on Facebook and Twitter. We provide encouraging, real-life, shareable content to help parents and caregivers!
If you, your faith community, your organization, or your place of business would like to join us as a Champion for Children, contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about The Palmetto Basics to those within your circle of influence!