While babbling is a great way for you to have a lot of fun with your little one, the fact is that not only is your little one actually having the most fun, he/she is simultaneously getting well prepared to be able to speak soon. That’s why parents are supposed to encourage babbling in babies.
Babbling is also an effective way to encourage your little one to freely get into his/her kind of ‘conversation’ with you. Here are four simple yet powerful ways to encourage babbling in babies.
1. Talk Holding Your Baby Close
Whether you have a new born who’s just a few days old or a young baby who’s just a few weeks, the most fundamental thing you need to do is to always hold your baby close. This is how and where all good things as regards growth and development with your baby begins.
A new born can only see about 9 to 12 inches (30 centimetres or one foot) from his own face, which is approximately the distance between your arm and your eyes when you’re holding your little one.
Babies are born with what is called Mirror Neurons. They are neurons that fire both when a person acts and when the person observes the same action performed by someone else. Simply put, Mirror Neurons makes a person to do what they see or to copy (imitate) what they see.
When you talk to your baby holding him close, even though he’s too young to imitate what you do, his brain has the ability to record what he’s seeing and even learn from it. When he is a little older, he’s going to have the physical ability to start imitating you, as he has been recording, seeing and learning from what you’ve been repeatedly doing for a while now.
Maybe your little one is not little anymore and you don’t cradle him in your arms. But you can still be close to him and engage him with your eyes and through your voice. Whether it’s his playtime lying on his back, tummy time or even feeding time; you can be engaged with him deeply by just being close to his face and interacting.
When parents talk to their little ones regularly, the seemingly simple activity can potentially eliminate even the possibility of speech and language disorders in them.
2. Just Babble
While babbling may be something normal most parents generally do, for some, it may seem to be odd or even uncomfortable; probably because they may have not experienced it when they were growing up.
Having said, as per many research studies, babbling at your baby is a powerful yet fun way of encouraging your baby to interact with people around him.
There may still be a lot of people who might say, “I don’t have to babble to my little one as I talk to him in sentences and words”, which is fine too.
The reason why babbling is effective, is it makes your baby interested in observing the movements of your lips and mouth and try to imitate that.
This lays the foundation on which babies not only learn observational skills, but also their speech and vocabulary. There are very instances when one might observe early signs of speech delay.
Even if you’re not comfortable babbling, you can still creatively use real words for babbling with your baby. All it takes is a little bit of imagination, thinking on the feet and shedding a bit of your inhibitions to encourage your baby have fun and reciprocate by imitating you.
And every time he tries imitating you, make sure you reward him with by showing a little more babbling-enthusiasm if you will, maybe a kiss or little snuggles. It only makes him know that you really liked the fact that he tried to do what you do.
You can also make faces at your baby, like sticking out your tongue or make Kissy Faces. Those are little things that your baby is going to be interested in and may want to try and copy them too. When done back and forth, it can become an interesting mini-conversation which he will seldom want to stop.
3. Use Motherese
Motherese is a simplified repetitive type of speech used by adults, mostly parents, which has exaggerated intonation and rhythm while speaking to babies. From that standpoint, since it is done by many daddies too, it can also be called ‘Daddyese’, if you will.
Basically, Motherese can also be referred to as a term used for the way mothers, over centuries, have a natural way of talking to their baby. It is also backed up by science as a way of talking, which can really engage your baby very closely with you. That’s why this is possibly one of the best ways to encourage babbling in babies.
When born, infants not only have limited visual range, they have a limited hearing range as well. They only hear the very high tones of the very low tones and they don’t really hear the mid-range tones. Interestingly however, the mid-range tones are the conversational tones.
This means babies actually can’t hear mid-range tones, and therefore tune out only to sleep through conversations. Whether you’re trying to engage your baby socially, teach him a language or increase his vocabulary, you need to talk in a way that is really going to engage him – conversationally.
That’s where Motherese, truly, is by far the best way to naturally talk to your baby, naturally, from the perspective of how nature has designed adults with instincts from within to talk to babies. In a way, this will also lay the foundations to acquire the skills required to improve speech in them.
4. Just Sing
Singing is possibly the simplest and the easiest way to encourage babbling in babies. Similar to Motherese, singing uses the up and down intonation in a very natural way. So if you’re not comfortable talking to your baby the Motherese way, you can always try singing.
You can sing just anything to your baby. It can just be your favourite songs and doesn’t have to be a nursery rhyme. After all, your baby can’t make the difference.
When you spend time singing, your baby is definitely going to be engaged and keenly watching your mouth and lip movements. This will make him enjoy being with you and encourage him to try talking to you and potentially try singing as well. Wouldn’t that be great!
Keeping your baby’s overall growth and development in mind, speech and vocabulary development in particular, it is important that you start engaging in conversations with your baby early.
Whether your child is just a baby (12 months or below), a toddler (13 to 36 months) or even a little older than a toddler, adopting even one or two of the above four tips can help encourage him to develop his language and vocabulary well.
Most of all, the very fact that you’re engaging with him in a way that, from his perspective, is real fun; will only make the bonding between you and your little one even more stronger. And that’s what makes each of the above 4 simple yet powerful ways to encourage babbling in babies – worth the effort.
Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.