Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting: Listening to babies babble

If you're wondering when your baby will finally say that first word, researchers say there's one small thing parents can do to speed up the process.

Listening to your baby babble may be the quickest way to turn that babbling into real words.

Researchers studied the interactions between 12 eight-month-old babies and their moms during 30-minute free play sessions twice a month. They found the more moms acknowledged and responded to vocalization while their babies were looking at them, the more advanced their babies' talk became in the following months and the quicker that babbling started to sound like words.

The mothers were surveyed a month after the studies and those who were more attentive to their babies' babble reported their baby made more gestures and said more words at 15 months. 

So what can parents do?

Engage with your baby when he or she is babbling. Even if you can't understand the babble, try to respond to the babbling with words you think your baby is saying or that your baby is looking at. For example, if she says "da-da," respond with dad. If baby is looking at a toy, label the toy. Just the acknowledgement grows your baby's language skills one word at a time. 

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