Baby Talk, Brain Talk

When should you start talking regularly to your baby? Many parents believe that real talk is best reserved for when children begin to talk back in words. While this makes a certain logical sense, research and practice proves that it's completely wrong. The time to start talking to your baby is the moment he or she is born - or, given that fetuses start differentiating parents' voices five months in the womb, even earlier!

Talking to babies from the very beginning of their lives is the best way to ensure that their brains develop the language and learning structures they will need. Best of all is to surround them with a "wall of talk": about what you're doing and seeing, from the pink fuzzy socks you put on your baby's feet to choosing a banana from the produce section at the grocery store.

An excellent guide to how to use talk with babies and young children - and what to expect at different ages and stages - is "Talking Baby" by Margaret Maclagan.

Of particular interest is the frequent use of charts to explain how children's brains are growing at different stages of language development, and what you can do as a parent or caregiver to support their growth. This combination of theory and practice is an effective introduction to why baby talk is brain talk, and how you can enhance both in your interactions with your little ones.

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