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Babies are learning language from the very beginning (starting before they are even born!). They begin by listening to the sounds when family members and caregivers talk to them. So, connect with eye contact and a loving tone of voice and talk to your child as you go about your day together. Go back and forth, responding to their facial expressions, coos, babbles, and eventually, words. Every time you talk, sing, or point to what you are talking about, you provide clues to the meaning of what you are saying. As your child gets older, talking to them and answering their questions teaches them about the world, and helps you get to know the fascinating person they are becoming!

See Tip Sheets below.


TALK A LOT Talk to your baby from the time they are born during activities like changing, feeding, bathing, and errands. Describe what you are doing. 

USE A PLAYFUL VOICE Smile and look into your baby's eyes. Talk with a gentle, playful voice. Exaggerate the sounds of the words. This may feel silly at first, but it is actually very important. Babies pay more attention and learn more when you talk this way.

FOLLOW THEIR INTERESTS Talk about the things your baby looks at or reaches for. Notice which ways of talking or singing seem to interest them the most.

GO BACK AND FORTH When your baby makes a sound, show excitement on your face and in your voice. Respond with words. See how long you can keep the “conversation” going back and forth between the two of you.

USE REAL WORDS Don’t just use “baby talk,” also use real words. The more words your baby hears, the larger their vocabulary will grow. Think of words as nourishment for your baby’s brain!

SING Sing songs to your baby. This is a fun way for them to learn language. You might have certain songs for special times of the day, like bath time or before bedtime. Your baby might especially like songs that repeat words or have rhyming sounds.

POINT TO OBJECTS Point to objects and name them—especially the things that seem to interest your baby.

USE ANY LANGUAGE It doesn’t matter what language you speak with your infant. All languages are equally beneficial.


DESCRIBE LIFE Talk about the things you’re doing and what is going on around you. Have conversations as you walk around the neighborhood or do errands.

BE SPECIFIC The more specific you can be with words, the more your child will learn. For example, instead of saying “Let’s go,” you could say, “Let’s go shopping at the grocery store to buy some food.”

USE YOUR HANDS When you talk about something, point to it. This helps your child understand what you mean. Encourage your child to point too. “Can you point to the triangle?” This will help them connect new words to the objects they represent.

ADD IDEAS Help grow your child’s vocabulary by expanding on what he says. For example, if he says “doggie,” you can respond with, “Yes, that is a doggie. That doggie is brown and soft.”

LISTEN AND RESPOND Listen to your toddler’s questions and answer them. Have a conversation. This is when the most powerful learning takes place.

ASK QUESTIONS Get your toddler thinking. Have them explain what they are doing or what they think is going to happen. You may get some funny answers!

SING AND RECITE Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. Choose ones you remember from your own childhood, read in books, or make up new ones.

USE ANY LANGUAGE It doesn’t matter what language you speak with your infant. All languages are equally beneficial.