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Nurturing a Baby's Speech and Language Development

Here are some ways to stimulate your child's speech and language development:

  • Talk to your infant using "baby talk." The higher pitch, slower speech, and emphasis placed on certain words will draw the baby's attention. Most adults naturally talk to babies this way.
  • Talk with your baby while you are doing your normal activities. For example, say, "Let's walk over to your changing table—I want to get my watch" or "Look out the window at the colorful trees."
  • Play games such as peekaboo.
  • Read and sing to your baby, and play music.
  • Consistently tell your baby the names of things around him or her, both inside and outside.

You can encourage your baby when he or she starts to make sounds by:

  • Repeating a sound to your baby and adding words that begin with that sound. For example, if your baby says "ma," repeat it to him or her and then say "mama."
  • Offering your baby new words such as "baby," "cat," "dog," "go," "hot," and "cold."

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as of December 21, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 21, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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