Understanding Your Baby’s Communication Skills
A baby is able to communicate right from the moment they are born, even if the messages are not always clear. As parents, understanding your baby’s basic communication signals is key to helping them develop healthier relationships and grow into well-rounded children.
Before a baby can start to learn words and form simple sentences they rely on non-verbal communication. This can include:
- Crying – Babies cry to express discomfort, stress, hunger and other needs.
- Gesturing and Movements – Babies use gestures like hand-waving, clapping and leg-kicking to convey their feelings and intentions.
- Facial Expressions – Sudden changes in facial expressions, such as widening of the eyes and raising eyebrows, indicate surprise or fear.
- Laughing – Babies laugh to show pleasure and express joy.
As babies get older, they become more able to use words. Verbal communication can include:
- Vocalisation – Babies start learning the sounds of language by imitating the noises they hear around them. They start out by making lots of different noises, and gradually start to hone in on the sounds that make up their native language.
- Babbling – As babies get older, they start to babble in a singsong voice using lots of different syllables. This helps them practise the rhythm and intonation of their native language.
- Imitation – Babies start to learn words by mimicking the speech they hear from the people around them. They will try to imitate the words you say and the way you say them.
Developing Communication Skills
By responding promptly to your baby’s signals and having regular conversations with them, you can help them develop their communication skills. This will help your baby build trust in relationships, create the foundations for more complex language development and encourage their emotional growth.