Language – birth to four months

Baby is born ready to learn language, and can already recognise human speech and different sounds. Baby needs adults to help them develop language. This is a critical time to wire up baby’s brain for learning language.

Yarn with baby lots in home language because:

  • this switches on hearing, social, emotional and language parts of the brain all at once
  • baby’s brain gets better at recognising the sounds of home language.

Get baby’s hearing checked if there seems to be any problem so:

  • if baby is deaf or has hearing problems, they can get support early and be shown lots of sign language.

Copy baby when they babble because:

  • this encourages baby to babble more, and is good practise for coordinating the mouth, throat and tongue
  • baby learns about speech sounds by practising and hearing them back
  • this shows baby how to take turns in yarns.

Use a simple, clear and positive tone when talking to baby because:

  • it makes it easier for baby to learn sounds
  • it makes stronger pathways in baby’s brain that link sound and meaning, so baby can later understand what is being said.
Published — 20 February 2019 Last updated — 11 March 2019

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If you had a spare moment, what would you most likely do with the child?

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Do you speak another language at home apart from English?
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