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After hearing your baby speak gibberish for the past couple of months, it can be exciting to hear your child say their first word. Although talking is a natural part of development, you can help to nurture your child’s language skills by talking in front of them on a regular basis. Not only will you help your child learn to talk, but you will help grow their vocabulary. Like any skill, it will take time to master. The more exposure your child gets to a language the quicker he or she will be in making connections to meanings.

Talking to your child is one of the best ways you can get your baby talking early. Research indicates that babies from talkative family have a higher IQ by age three than those in less-talkative families. To help nurture your baby’s talk, use the following tips.

Start talking early 

While you may feel silly talking to a tiny human who can’t understand you, it can create quite an impact on your baby’s speech development. By birth, your baby’s ears and the part of the brain that responds to sound is well-developed. Although they haven’t quite figured out what the meaning of each word, they are listening. Your baby is actually absorbing more information than what you may realize.

Pay attention to what captures their interest 

As a new parent, you will find yourself in a constant cycle of soothing, feeding, and changing. Because of this, it can be easy to rely on these actions as your source of conversation. While it can be helpful, introduce talk that captures your child’s interest. Dr. Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, director of Temple University Infant and Child Laboratory, suggests following your child’s gaze to see what they find exciting or interesting. If your baby has their eyes locked on the necklace around your neck or the orange in your hand, provide more information. Using simple terms, describe the color, the size, or what the object does.

Create a dialogue 

While talking, allow time for your baby to respond. If you just have a one-sided conversation with yourself, your baby is more likely to tune out. If your baby begins randomly babbling, respond back! Creating a dialogue, whether it makes sense or not, help teach your child how conversation works and shows that you care.

Avoid Turning on the Television 

You may think that turning on the TV will be beneficial to your baby’s language development, but, In reality, infants between 8 to 16 months, learned to talk slower than babies who weren’t exposed to TV. Research shows that TV is linked with a slower language acquisition because the people on the show don’t react to your babies replies. Social interaction is a huge part of speech development. That being said, turn off the TV and create a dialogue.