We all know that babies can hear you from the womb. And we have all spent some time everyday looking down and talking to the tummy, feeling a bit sheepish but enjoying the chat nevertheless. And then you deliver and out comes the baby who is eager to communicate with all and sundry in the only language he knows – crying!.
Motherhood is difficult. You are in pain, you are sleep-deprived, you have crazy feeding schedules and you are just tired all the time. It is easy to ‘forget’ talking to the baby the way you did during the much ‘peaceful’ pregnancy period. In fact, many of us get so consumed by the new life that we forget the little chat. Don’t. This article gives you few tips to help you communicate better with your child.
But before that, let us find out:
Why Is It Important To Communicate With Your Newborn?
Talking to your baby goes a long way in his early language and speech development. And earlier the child understands language, better he will be at all forms of communication later in life. Ok, so they probably wouldn’t understand you in the beginning. But if you keep repeating same things over and over again, they will eventually understand. In fact that is how all babies grasp language. The second reason is to develop a bond with your child. Or rather, strengthen the bond you built with him while he was inside you. He has heard you the most during the pregnancy, he recognizes your voice the most. So let him hear more of it, plenty of it, so that he feels secure and he knows his mumma is around.
How Do Babies Communicate?
Babies begin to communicate from the moment they are born. The baby’s language, infact the universal baby language is ‘crying’. For everything and anything, babies resort to crying and letting you know what needs to be done. Infact, you can decode your babies’ cries and figure out whether the baby wants a nappy change, or is hungry. A baby can cry because he is overstimulated and does not know what to do next. The baby world is amazing, and a baby gives out other subtle forms of communication as well. Read about how to decode the baby cries here
Now that we all agree that you absolutely must communicate with your child, let us find out few tips to do so in the best way.
10 Ways To Communicate With Your New Born
- Talk to the baby: An obvious suggestion, but difficult to implement if you do not know what to say! Here are few pointers:
- Narrate to him everything you are doing. “mumma is going to change your nappy now”
- Use simple sentences
- Use “mumma”and “papa”and other proper nouns, instead of “I”, “he”, “him”etc
- Repeat 2-3 words often every day. It could be “mumma”and “daddy”. This will help them learn those words better
- Point out few things and say the words loudly. (e.g. Bottle, car)
- Use a soothing voice: Experts say that babies feel very comforted when they hear soothing female voices. When they are older you can start the “adult”talk. For now, stick to happy soothing baby talks
- Meet their needs: There are non-verbal ways of communicating too. Spoil them with your attention. It takes practice, but try to understand why the baby is crying and meet his needs. There is no better way to reassure him that you understand his communication (i.e. crying) better than to tend to his needs
- Use signs: Babies learn to move their hands faster than they learn to speak. They also love to mimic. So you can introduce few signs in their lives. Waving for “bye bye”, steering an imaginary wheel for “car”, or curling your fingers to ask “what”are few to starts with. You could also have your own sign for “food”and “milk”. As they become bigger, these signs become very practical and handy
- Sing: We sound better than Adele to our babies. So sing away. Pick your favorite lullabies or stick to nursery rhymes. In the initial days, sing the same 2-3 songs everyday so that your baby get familiarized with them. Did you sing to him while pregnant? Start with those songs!
- Listen: Just like in adult conversation, an important part of your conversation with your baby is listening to his coos and gurgles. Let them babble. Look into their eyes and smile calmly as they do so. Then respond to the babble. Then stop again, so that baby knows it’s his turn to talk again. This back and forth chatting will help your baby learn how to converse
- Imitate: Imitate your baby’s goos and gaas and baahs. Imitate his face expression too. This way you are letting him know that you understand him. Babies love to see faces and when accompanied with sounds that are high yet soothing, communication gets developed rapidly
- Read: Start reading to your child, earlier the better. Make it part of his everyday routine. For the initial three months, pick high contrast colored picture books. Point things in the book and use simple sentences to tell him about it. Slowly you can introduce “touch and feel”books and story books
- Smile: Another important non-verbal communication. Smile at your child a lot. It tells him you are happy and makes him smile back you. Smiling at your baby when he coos helps him understand the give-and-take of communication, and that you are giving him both attention and importance
- Touch: Perhaps the most important non-verbal way of communicating. You touch can calm and reassure you baby instantly. The little wonder is still learning a lot about life, and your kisses and hugs are reassuring him that he is safe and loved a lot