Reading and Talking with Infants
Updated: Nov 13
Crying is the only way the infant knows how to communicate needs to the parent. After a period, the parent should be able to recognise the infant cries in different ways depending on what the infant needs and how quickly the infant needs it.
How Talking Starts?
The infant uses eye contact to communicate with the parents, listening intently to every word and sound the parents make. The infant might gaze into the parents’ face and watch the parents’ mouth. Listening and watching the parents talk helps the infant understand the basics of communicating. The infant absorbs a huge amount of information about words and talking from birth.
At about 7- 8 weeks, the infant discovers a voice.
The infant starts cooing, gurgling and babbling, putting together simple sounds such as “Dad Dad” or “Mama”, copying words the parents say and communicating ‘no’ with a shake of the head. As the infant grows, the infant starts to make more sounds, smile and wave arms and feet around.
Play Ideas to Help with Talking
Talking about what the parents are seeing and doing can give the infant a loving, warm feeling. The more the parents talk with the infant, the easier it becomes and the parents will be rewarded with the infant’s responses.
Changing diapers, having meals together, etc are great time for face to face talk with the infant.
Suggestions from Tampines Infant Care:
- Talk about what the parents are doing in any languages. This helps the infant learn about communication. For example, We are going to give you a nice warm bath now. You like your bath, don’t you?
- Listen to the infant’s babbling and then respond. Show interest in the infant by looking the infant in the eyes and giving lots of smiles, with interesting and engaging expressions. For example, repeat “Mama” back to the infant after the infant says, “Mama”.
- Pause a while when it is the infant’s turn to talk again. This teaches the infant about the pattern of conversation.
- If the infant looks tired, gets grumpy, doesn’t take a turn, or isn’t interested in chatting, try again another time. Let the infant’s interest and responses guide the parent.
- Share songs and nursey rhymes. They can take place in the car, in the bath, at bedtime even if it is off-key. The infant will love the rhythm of the words and will be soothed by the parents’ voice.
- Name the toys and objects to the infant.
- Praise the infant’s efforts to talk. For example, the infant points to an object and names it, says, “Well done”.
- Reading with the infant. The infant will start to recognise words and learn to listen to what others say. If the infant cries or wriggles during reading, the parent might try again later instead of forcing it.
- Talk softly to the spouse or others instead of shout. This helps the infant learns to talk softly with the parents or others.
If the parents shout at one another, the infant might learn to shout at the parents or others.
Why Reading with the infant is Important?
Sharing stories, talking and singing helps the infant get familiar with sounds, words, language and, eventually, the value and joy of books. This builds the infant’s early literacy skills and helps the infant go on to read successfully. Reading stories stimulates the infant’s imagination and helps the infant learn about the world. It is a great time to bond with the infant and share time together too.
Sharing books with the infant
- Name both familiar and new things.
This helps the infant learn about sounds and words.
- Read of various intonation when reading. This helps the infant to pick up different speech sounds.
- Read slowly and spend time on each page after reading the words.
This helps the infant focus.
- Turn the pages when reading with the infant. This shows the infant how to use a book.
Suggestions from Tampines Infant Care:
- Read a story during bedtime daily.
- Turn off any distracting sounds when reading with the infant.
- Try reading using funny noises and sounds to engage the infant.
- Visit the library. The staff will be able to recommend books for the infant to enjoy.
What to read with the infant?
Suggestions from Tampines Infant Care
- Books with pictures of faces, vehicles and animals. Let the infant touch, hold the books and turn the pages. Let the infant choose the books to read.
For examples, Baby Touch Series by Ladybird Books - Colours
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
- Soft, waterproof plastic and cloth books which the infant can put into mouth and in bath are recommended.
I hope all these suggestions help you to read and talk with your infant. Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions.
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We have over 10 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants aged from 2 months to 18 months. Our infant care Tampines or infant care at Tampines has a purposefully curated environment that provides our infants with a warm, loving and interactive environment to learn and grow in body and in mind independently.
If you are looking for Tampines infant care or Tampines preschool or Tampines childcare, do consider Nurture Infant House. We provide parents with the confidence that their infants are in the good hands of our trained and caring teachers.
Our Tampines childcare is one of Singapore's leading childcare services. Visit our childcare at Tampines and Tampines preschool to learn more about our curriculum and how we ensure a holistic development for your child.
At our preschool Tampines, we believe in the growth and potential of every child and aim to develop your child to their best.
Lastly, would you like to visit our Nurture Infant House to find out more about our environment and setup as well as understand our operations by talking to our teachers and supervisor?
Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)
Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 Singapore 520433
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Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 Singapore 520433
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