Key tips for helping your little one learn how to talk

During your pregnancy, you may start to think of all the ways that you can give your baby a great start in life. This might involve bringing in toys and stuffed animals to encourage your infant to get the gears working in his or her little head. While everyone has an opinion as to what does and doesn't work, one thing is for certain - it's never too soon to start helping your baby learn. Specifically, many parents can't wait for their infant to start saying his or her first words.

Walking and talking are two of the biggest moments you're likely looking forward to after your pregnancy calendar comes to an end. Every child learns these activities in his or her own time, but there are some tactics you can use to encourage your baby during his or her first year. Can't wait for your son or daughter to mutter the words, "Mama" or "Dada?" Here are a few tips for helping your infant inch closer to these memorable moments in your lives.

Don't rule out baby talk
Sure, people might stare at you in public when you're making silly faces or saying incomprehensible words to your little one. However, "baby talk" may help your child communicate more efficiently - and eventually with words - sooner rather than later. "Baby talk" tends to be high-pitched, according to Psychology Today magazine, which can grab the attention of infants. Unlike normal adult rhythm and sound, infants are likely to learn more from "baby talk" while they're focused. While it may sound funny to people around you, your newborn is holding onto phonemes - basic speech - while you make conversation with your child. There's no need to be ashamed!

Talk frequently to your baby
Even if your infant doesn't understand what you're saying, it's important to recognize that you're getting through to him or her. Your baby is still hearing your voice, engaging in eye contact and learning the basics of human communication. Think about sitting down with your child and cracking open a book. Reading to your baby can expose him or her to new rhythms and sounds. Over time, you may begin to notice your baby making small sounds of his or her own. Eventually, these will evolve into words! 

Tell your baby about his or her surroundings
It may seem pointless to provide an explanation to your newborn, but iVillage, a female advice website, states that doing so can be beneficial as you teach your baby words. Take the time to explain to your child what you're doing with him or her, whether it's changing a diaper or putting on clothing. If you have your baby around while you're cooking or cleaning around the house, tell him or her about it. This can not only help your baby learn words, but grasp what's to come when you use certain phrases in the future.

Make conversation
Just because your baby doesn't know how to use words yet doesn't mean he or she won't try to communicate with you! Rather than just directing sentences to your infant, wait for responses from him or her. Allow your child to make noises and respond to the phrases you say. Over time, you'll help your newborn learn more about pronouncing words of his or her own. Your little one will be talking in no time!

How have you encouraged your little one to say his or her first words in the past? Do you consider "baby talk" to be helpful? Leave your feedback in the comments section!