For babies from birth to 1 year
Babies love hearing your voice. When you answer your child's sounds with sounds of your own, she learns that what she "says" has meaning and is important to you.
What to Do
- Talk to your baby often. Answer her coos, gurgles, and smiles. Talk, touch, and smile back. Get her to look at you.
- Play simple talking and touching games with your baby. Ask, "Where's your nose?" Then touch her nose and say playfully, "There's your nose!" Do this several times, then switch to an ear or knee or tummy. Stop when she (or you) grows tired of the game.
- Change the game by touching the nose or ear and repeating the word for it several times. Do this with objects, too. When she hears you name something over and over again, your child begins to connect the sound with what it means.
- Do things that interest your baby. Vary your tone of voice, make funny faces, sing lullabies, and recite simple nursery rhymes. Play "peek-a-boo" and "pat-a-cake" with her.
It's so important to talk to your baby! With your help, her coos and gurgles will one day give way to words.
For each set of activities, we give an age span that suggests when children should try them. From one reading game to the next, we continue to talk about children at different stages: babies (birth to 1 year), toddlers (1 to 3 years), preschoolers (ages 3 and 4), and kindergartner/early first-graders (ages 5 and 6). Remember that children don't always learn the same things at the same rate. And they don't suddenly stop doing one thing and start doing another just because they are a little older. So use the ages as guides as your child learns and grows. Don't consider them to be hard and fast rules.