Infants begin to learn about their world by being involved in interactions. Researchers suggest that promoting vocabulary growth through conversations is a vital activity that paves the way for later development of phonological awareness skills. Although at this age, the conversation you have with your infant is very one-sided involving you as the talker, you can be very interactive with baby by talking to him during everyday routines. Try treating baby as though he is a turn-taker and have fun conversing with him!
Step 1: Turn everyday routines into fun conversations with your infant. For example, when baby is laying on the diaper-changing table, talk to him using a lot of exaggerated vocal intonations and facial expressions. You might say:
Where’s Jason? Here he is! Let’s put on your pajamas! Jason is going to be warm and cozy in his pajamas!
Try varying the pitch of your voice and be sure to smile when you say your baby’s name. This will help to gain his attention.
Step 2: As you interact with your infant by talking and smiling, look for changes in his actions that signal a turn from him. For example, as you lean over baby, look into his eyes, and say:
Where’s Jason? I see him!
You might see him kick his legs, smile, or begin to “coo” in response to your voice. These actions signal your baby’s conversational turn!
Step 3: Continue to playfully interact with your baby. You might try singing a popular rhyming song like This Old Man or Row, Row, Row Your Boat, or playing Peek-a-Boo.
Step 4: During your baby’s first few months, you may have to say your baby’s name or sing a song several times during an interaction before you notice a turn-taking response (smile or coo) from him. By about 3 months, your baby will learn to look at you and make sounds or faces back and forth with you. Have fun!