Families can promote the skill of communicating with their infants by using “infant directed” speech and something we call “parentese.” Parentese means using sing-song voice with words that are sophisticated and grammatically correct. This is a step away from the baby talk (like gaga gugu), which doesn’t help to promote real language. This voice has been shown to be preferred by babies, who like high pitched voices and big facial expressions. Many of us probably naturally do this with babies but there is actual science that this is good for them.
A great way to make sure you talk to your baby is “sports casting”, which means going through what you are doing moment-by-moment (i.e., we are giving you a sponge bath right now. We are cleaning your arm, etc.) and saying the steps out loud. For example, if a baby is crying during the sponge bath you would say, “I know this is upsetting you. It is wet and cold. But that is okay, it will be over soon. We are both going to get through this.”
Talk to your baby during routine actives, such as changing a diaper or getting dressed. You will be doing 7000 diaper changes in the next 2 years and it is a great opportunity to get in the quality face time!