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How to talk to a newborn


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. 


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