Before infants are ready to say their first word, they listen very carefully to the speech sounds spoken to them. As infants begin to hear the language spoken in their environment more and more, they begin to develop the ability to recognize common sound combinations that are used in that language. The development of this skill is an important foundation for learning words a little later.
- infant bathtub, sink, or bathroom tub with infant bath ring
- mild infant-safe soap
- small washcloth
Step 1: Bath time is a daily routine in your infant’s life that provides an excellent opportunity for you to expose your infant to speech sounds by talking to him.
Step 2: As you bathe your infant, talk to him in a slow and clear manner.
Step 3: Use short utterances to describe each activity that you are doing. For example, you might say:
Let’s wash your tummy! The water is nice and warm. Does that feel good? Your tummy is all clean!
Step 4: Talk to your infant as you wash each part of his body. As you wash him, describe how the soap smells and feels against his skin or how the water splashes as he kicks his legs.
Step 5: Use a lot of repetition while you are talking to your infant. For example, you might talk about your baby’s toes as you are washing them. You might say:
Let’s wash your piggy toes! Ten little toes! Wiggle, wiggle, piggy toes! You have the cutest little toes!
Step 6: By focusing your complete attention on your infant during bath time and talking to him using words that describe the bathing activity, you are providing your infant quality time for him to listen to the sounds of language.