Speech and language

Infants may not talk, but they are learning language from the time they are born. They listen to you when you talk and try to communicate with you through copying your facial expressions or waving their arms and legs. It’s important to talk to your baby as much as possible. In the beginning, just talk or sing to your baby about anything as you do everyday tasks.

As your baby learns to make sounds of their own and starts to use gestures such as pointing or shaking their head for “no”, you can help them learn their first words.

• Use short, simple sentences. For example, “Juice all done”
• Use words that your child can copy. For example, “all done”, “more”, “no”
• Use simple common action words. For example, “wash”, “go”, “eat”
• Repeat first words often. For example, “you want milk?” “here’s milk”, “more milk?”
• Wait for your child to ask for what they want.
• Talk about things that your child shows an interest in.
• Smile and have fun when talking to your child.

It’s good for children to grow up learning more than one language, so if you speak another language, share it with your baby. Read more about learning more than one language in English, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Keep in mind that healthy vision is an important part of how your baby learns to communicate. If you suspect that there are problems with your baby’s eyes, contact your health care provider. Learn more about your baby’s vision.

Learn more about how infants communicate available in English, Chinese, Punjabi and Spanish.
Learn more about talking to your baby.

Smiling lesbians with baby lying on hardwood floor