SOME people believe teaching your child to talk is something that comes much later in our baby’s development. Would it surprise you to learn the first six months can be one of the most sociable times of a child’s life?

In the early months babies are far more interested in faces than toys and from about three months you can use facial expressions, sounds and words to have a fabulous conversation with your baby. This will translate into a child confident with their speech.

Some tips to help with your child’s communication:

- When spending time with other adults and your child is present, make sure to include them in your conversation.

- Use songs, stories, rhymes and riddles to widen your child’s vocabulary. Make these up with words your child might struggle with – learning through fun is the most powerful way to learn.

- If your child mispronounces a word - for example, "Can I have sgetti for tea?" - don’t correct them immediately, as this can damage your child’s confidence with speech. Repeating the word correctly is an effective way of helping your child to learn how to pronounce the word properly. You can say: "Yes, you can have spaghetti for tea tonight."

- A child’s brain is like a sponge, so explore other languages too – using the odd "hola" or "bonjour"!

- Mobile phones can take you away from quality communication time with your child, as it is very easy to become engrossed in the conversation you are having and forget your children are there. Try to use them at a time when they are not around.


NEXT WEEK: Incidental teaching