During this phase of oral language development, infants begin to understand that they can share a mental focus for an object with another person. This is called intentional communication. Researchers agree that babies who engage in longer periods of shared attention with their caregivers at this phase of development will understand and use more words later on when they are talking. You can foster this important development by playing with your baby as you are bathing her in the tub!
- a bathtub containing lukewarm water
- water-resistant bath toys that float, such as plastic rings, boats, fish, ducks, turtles, cups, etc.
Step 1: Place your baby in a sitting position in the bathtub with water. If she is just learning how to sit steadily, you can support her back with your hand.
Step 2: Select three bath toys that are familiar to your baby.
Step 3: Place the floating toys in the water near your baby. Say the name of each object as you place it in the water. For example, you might say, “Quack quack! Here comes the duck!” or “I see a sailboat!”.
Step 4: Ask your baby to find or give you one of the toys. At first, your baby might respond only by looking at the object you requested. Respond to her by picking up the object and giving it to her so that she can explore the object. She will love to hear you talk about the toy by describing how it looks or by making funny sounds!
Step 5: As your baby gets older, she will reach for the toy that you request. She will love hearing you praise her as she reaches for the requested object. Be sure to pause after each request so that your baby has time to respond as well as explore the exciting toy!
Step 6: After she has shared her attention for the three selected objects, repeat the same game by using three different familiar bath toys, as long as she is interested.