Here are some tips to better communicate with your infant:
- Speak real words but in a playful manner, such as using a sing-song voice.
- Communicate face-to-face with your baby so they can see how your mouth and tongue move when speaking.
- Don’t rely on the TV for speech development. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any screen time beyond video chatting for children younger than 18 months. Among children 18-24 months old, parents who want to allow some screen time are encouraged to choose high-quality programming and apps and use them with their children.
- Minimize background noise so your child can more easily focus on you.
- Take time to communicate with your child many times throughout the day.
- Build in some quiet time so your child isn’t overly stimulated by all the communication.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s communication skills should speak to a pediatrician.
“It’s common, especially among first-time parents, for concerns to arise about the speed of a child’s speech development,” Dr. Carter says. “One of the biggest roles I have as a pediatrician is keeping the parent’s expectations realistic but also letting them know what they should be looking for in the months ahead when it comes to developing speech.”