Otis is nearly four weeks old and I feel like I need a refresher... it's too easy to forget or get distracted by the busyness of everyday life.
My key points for talking to a newborn:
- speak to your child from the start, slowly and calmly
- use good grammar and clear pronunciation
- look into the child's eyes when speaking
- let the child see you speak, speak face to face
- expose the child to adult (and sibling) language and conversation
- recognise that tone conveys a message and emotion to a child
- talk about what you are doing, name body parts and household items
- talk to the child about what you are about to do (before you do it) as in "I am going to pick you up"
- associate voice with pleasure as with singing, humming
- recognise the newborn's points of reference include a mother's voice and will therefore give the child security and comfort (and can be used to calm a child)
- read to your newborn
- remember the importance of a positive atmosphere and that positive language contributes to the positive atmosphere of the home environment
- use baby talk
- raise your voice
- use oversimplified language
- use artificially high pitched voice (commonly used by adults when talking to infants)
- use music or television as background noise
- listen (truly listen) to music together
- enjoy silence together
When the child is older
- engage the child in conversation, imitate the sound the child makes back to the child
- ask the child questions and give the child choice whenever possible.