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Small talk: Making "conversation" with your baby

Did he say "Dada"? Maybe. Maybe not. But don't wait for the words to find out. Here’s how to help your baby communicate with you now.
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You know your baby has a lot to tell you, but what? You may not always be able to figure it out, but there are ways you can help your baby build her verbal skills.

Yada, yada, yada at her

It may seem like your baby doesn’t know what you’re saying, but she’s been listening to the different tones of your voice since before she was born. Babies know the difference between happy and stressed talk, and they soak up what they hear like little sponges. And after about 18 months, all she’s heard you say will start pouring out! Talk to her about what you’re doing as you do it, and leave space for her to respond. "We’re going to take a stroller ride now. What do you think about that?"

"Monkey see, monkey do"

Mimic his every movement and expression. If he turns his head to the side, turn yours, too. Give him your best rendition of his goos and bah-bahs. You’ll capture his attention, even if the exchange is short.

Exaggerate everything.

Make your voice squeaky, open your eyes wide and raise your eyebrows. Speak slowly, drawing out your sounds at the end of words: "Are you my bayyy-beee? Oh, yes you a-r-r-e!"

Work the classics

"Peekaboo," "This Little Piggy Went to Market" and "I’m going to tickle your tummy!" work (almost) every time.

Try signing

In the months before they begin mastering words, most babies can learn how to use basic baby hand signs for "milk," "more" and other everyday words.

Lean in Remember, for the first six months, babies are nearsighted. Whatever method of communication you choose, move in close so you’re about 6-12 inches from his face.

And of course, the best time to carry on a conversation with your baby is when she’s rested, well-fed and has an alert and ready expression on her face. Turning her head from side to side or looking away means she’s hungry, tired or plain had enough.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 46reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by my 4 month old constantly babbles, so my family talks to him as though he's actually talking. It's so funny when people who aren't comfortable with babies just stare at him, and they're disappointed when he simply stares right back at them. March 27, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My 18 month old seems to want to talk but she just pulls and takes me to what she wants after she stops screaming instead. I wonder if i just did not stress out enough the words for her :-( March 3, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Our baby said the typical "goo goo, gaa gaa" and then "mama" before "dada", but it was because I practiced and practiced with him. Let's just say Daddy wasn't pleased! January 2, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by 6both me and daddy read and talk to our bundle of joy we have been since day one and I think he seems to enjoy it more and more can't wait till he starts cooing more August 9, 2014
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