Read Read Read! Again, the more words an infant hears the better it is to help develop their vocabulary. It is never to early to read to your baby, in fact the earlier the better! Reading simple books teaches a baby about communication, literacy, builds listening skills, develops memory and introduces shapes, colours, letters, and numbers. Reading together is also a great way to bond with your baby, having special one-one time through shared positive interactions. There is nothing better than snuggling up together with a book. Try to aim to read at least one book a day. Turing it into a little ritual before bedtime is a lovely way to unwind or to help your baby or child engage during mealtimes.
Sing songs to your baby. Singing songs to your baby is another way to introduce new words in a fun and loving way. You voice is your babies favourite sound, and it will help them to further bond with you. When you sing to your baby they also learn about rhythm and rhyme as well as developing listening skills. A great way to weave songs into your day is during transitions times like going from playing to sleep (lullabies) or moving from eating to washing face. Singing songs about what you are are doing (eg: this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands….) helps your baby to know what is happening and what will happen next. Building predictability helps your baby to feel safe and secure as they LOVE routine!
Listen to a wide range of music with your baby. Music can lull babies to sleep, energize them and calm them down during times (just like us!). Studies have shown that babies brains (the prefrontal cortex) actually looks different after listening to music! How amazing! As well as child friendly songs, it is also important to extend their repertoire of music, so pop the radio on and take a trip down memory lane and play all your favourites! Just remember to keep music levels at a lower level and limit times to avoid over stimulation. Short bursts of a couple of songs, while dancing around is enough for one session.
Use baby sign or NZ sign language. Imagine if your baby could communicate with your before they could talk! Well they can with sign language. Learning just a few basic signs can make a huge difference to developing a trusting relationship with your baby. Some of the many benefits include: Babies often talk earlier; Parents and caregivers actually speak more to their baby; Increases feelings of calm and reduces frustration for the baby; Enhances the relationships through more supportive and responsive interactions.
So there you go, 5 simple ideas you can implement in your day to day interactions with your baby!