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  • 8 Phrases of Love to Say to Your Baby Even if He Doesn't Understand It Yet

    Studies have found that talking to babies is linked to better vocabulary and language skills.
    by Kate Borbon .
8 Phrases of Love to Say to Your Baby Even if He Doesn't Understand It Yet
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  • Talking to babies even when they are still in the womb is perhaps one of the best ways to strengthen the bond between a parent and her child. Yes, babies can't understand words or to carry on conversations yet, but that doesn’t mean that moms and dads should not talk to them anyway.

    Why it’s important to talk to your baby

    Though your baby won’t be able to comprehend words yet, the benefits of talking to him cannot be overstated. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that listening to you and to others talk to him allows babies to “discover the importance of speech long before he understands or repeats any specific words himself.”

    The Guardian discusses a study that found children whose parents talked to them when they were babies showed better skills in language and vocabulary as early as 18 months of age, as compared to other children whose parents didn’t talk to them as much. These skills were seen to have influenced their performance in school over the following six years.

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    Developmental psychologist Professor Anne Fernald tells The Guardian that talking to infants gives them the opportunity to learn the rules of language and even helps them begin to understand an understanding of how the world works.

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    “You need to start talking to them from day one,” Professor Fernald said. “You are building a mind, a mind that can [conceptualize], that can think about the past and the future.” She further elaborated that parents who talk to their children are more likely to discover their kids’ developmental potential.

    Another reason why it’s crucial to talk to your baby as early as possible is that it helps his brain development. Eighty percent of the physical development of a child’s brain occurs within his first three years of life, according to WebMD, and it is during this period of growth that his brain begins to make connections necessary for thinking, learning, and processing information. Talking to your child helps boost the formation of those connections.

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    Balance baby talk and grown-up talk

    It can be hard not to let your adoration of your baby become evident in the way you talk. Maybe you make your voice sound more high-pitched or repeat his random sounds and babbles and do baby talk. You can see that with his quick response that he entertained.

    But while there’s nothing wrong with using baby talk, it is also important to balance it out with grown-up conversation. Instead of speaking slowly and over-emphasizing certain words, it might be better to talk to your child the way you would speak to adults to help improve his language skills. Again, this will allow your child to begin to understand the subtle rules of communications, like taking turns, pacing, vocal tone, and the complex structure of language.

    How to talk to your baby

    Finally being with your little one after nine months can be an incredibly moving and emotional moment that you might not know what to say. But it doesn't have to be a love letter. Here are eight phrases you can tell him to express your love.

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    • Welcome, baby!
    • You were worth the wait.
    • You’re going to grow up to be so amazing!
    • You are so adorable!
    • You are beautiful.
    • Mommy/Daddy has so much to tell you.
    • I can’t believe you’re finally here.
    • I love you.
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    Here are other ways to talk to to your baby:

    1. Read a book aloud

    Studies have found that babies who had book-reading sessions with their parents had a higher chance of developing early reading skills, and that reading books during the toddler years were linked to early literacy skills. So, bring out the books!

    2. Narrate your actions

    Even simple statements like “I’m changing your diaper right now” or “We’re going for a walk today!” can be a way to start teaching your little one basic speech and language patterns. You don’t have to come up with complicated things to say to him continually — the most important thing is that he hears his favorite sound (your voice) talking to him.

    3. Sing to your baby

    Singing to your child is not only a fool-proof way to send him off to dreamland, but it is also a simple way to build your bond with him. It can also help boost his attention span. So though you may not have the best singing voice, sing a lullaby to your baby. We’re sure he’s going to love it anyway!

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