Dads talk to your baby
Advice given by “Words for Life”, a campaign run by the National Literacy Trust suggests that it’s never too early to start developing good communication skills in children.
What’s more you don’t need to be an expert, all you need is a listening ear and the willingness to chat to your child when you can.
The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that believes everyone in the UK should have the literacy skills they need. They are the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK.
One person in six in the UK today has poor literacy. This means they can’t succeed at school, are locked out of the job market, can’t support their child’s learning and struggle with daily tasks such as filling in forms or reading labels on food packaging.
Through its “Word for Life” Campaign the trust encourages parents to support literacy and communication skills in the home. Helping a child learn to communicate will help them develop good relationships, do well at school and be confident and happy.
www.wordsforlife.org.uk provides ideas, competitions and free activities for parents and families to help develop literacy and communication skills.The site also gives an idea of what communication milestones a baby and child might reach as they grow.
Us dads can sometimes find it hard to talk to a baby in the same way mothers do but it is so important as the following information shows.
- Most brain development occurs from birth to age two, so babies and toddlers need stimulation as much as they need nourishing food. The best way to stimulate babies’ brains is to connect with them through ‘mutual gaze’ and talk to them from the moment they are born
- Gazing directly into your baby’s eyes, talking and waiting for responses, stimulates your baby’s brain, helping to strengthen the connections that make learning possible.
- This also helps baby learn to talk, as it is from listening to your voice that he/she will learn to use language.
- Good speaking and listening skills help baby to become a good reader and writer, because language skills form the foundation for literacy.
- Communicating, talking and interaction help develop social skills and good relationships.
- This will show that you love and respect him/her, enhancing self-esteem.
- Spending time talking with your baby will help the two of you form a close bond – communication is the basis of your relationship with each other.
Top Tips for talking to your baby
- Whilst out, talk about the things you see when you’re on the bus, in the car or walking to the shops.
- In the evenings chat during bathtime, or sing (it doesn’t have to be a nursery rhyme!) while changing their nappy.
- The supermarket is a good place to talk and introduce new words, as baby is sitting in the trolley facing you. Gain their attention and then describe some of the items as you put them in the trolley.
- Try not to ask too many questions. Instead, tell him/her about things, especially the things she/he shows an interest in, like a favourite toy.
- Talk with your baby when they are watching TV programmes, about what you see and what’s happening.
For more information on the Word for Life campaign visit www.wordsforlife.org.uk
Do you talk to your baby? Or are you a little self-conscious? Let us know by leaving a comment below.