Why It’s Important to Talk with Your Baby
Note from PMP Co-Medical Director, Dr. Elizabeth Zmuda: The brain undergoes rapid growth during the first 5 years of life. During this time, stimulation creates new pathways in your child’s brain. Unstimulated, those pathways can disappear.
Help your develop new pathways by exploring their world through play, song, talk, and stories. You are building life-long skills!
- Talking is important for building your baby’s brain. The brain develops as your baby interacts with the world—much of your baby’s development occurs through communicating with you and other caregivers. Research has shown that lots of talking with children 0 to 3 years of life builds the brain in ways that are needed later to support reading and thinking.
- Talking is helpful even when Baby doesn’t understand the words being used. Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers can talk with babies a lot, even before the baby can understand or answer—imitating facial expressions and sounds, giving a “play-by-play” when changing a diaper, telling stories, asking the baby questions, singing, talking about pictures in books, and telling the baby how wonderful the he or she is.
- Talking is important for building vocabulary. Lots of talking by parents and other adults, especially when combined with reading, is wonderful for building vocabulary. Studies have shown that the more words the children had heard by age 3, the better they did on tests of cognitive development and reading readiness tests.
- Talking is important for healthy relationships and social skills. It’s the relationship that matters—your baby does not learn language, or much else, from a television set. Talking with your baby teaches them trust, how to deal with emotional and physical needs, and positive interactions with others.
- Bottomline: talk with your baby, a lot, during the brain’s most formative first three years, and set your child on a path to lifelong learning.