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How to talk to your child at each age

Did you know that recognizing, acknowledging, and responding to your baby’s cues plays a big role in her brain development? Learn more about these important back-and-forth interactions between parent and baby.

Two males at dining table, baby with hand in mouth

Right from birth, you and your baby are already beginning to engage in back-and-forth interactions with one another. Although simple, these interactions are not only important for your baby’s brain development, but they help with relationship building and bonding, too.

Your baby may initiate early interactions in several ways: by making a face, turning her head, stretching her arm, or kicking her legs. This is an opportunity for you to return the interaction in a meaningful way – whether it’s copying his movements or saying aloud what you believe he might be thinking. And while they don’t seem significant, these back-and-forth interactions are in fact stimulating your baby’s brain – and even reducing her stress reactions!

For example, when your baby makes a sad face or a distressed sound, that’s her way of saying, “Do you recognize I’m upset? Are you going to respond?” It’s important to respond with empathy to let your baby know that you care and are there to help.

How to engage in a back-and-forth interaction:

Example 1:

1. Baby: “Ba ba ba”.

2. Parent: Imitate his sounds and guess what your baby is trying to say. “Did you want your bottle?”

Example 2:

1. Baby: Throws a toy.

2. Parent: You say, “You didn’t want that toy. How about this one?”

Example 3:

1. Baby: Lifts arms up and then puts them down.

2. Parent: Copy the movement and say, “Up and down!”

Example 4:

1. Baby: Points to the sky.

2. Parent: “What do you see? Are you pointing to the birds in the sky?”

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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