Babies absorb so much in the first few years of life. It is amazing what an impact everything you do has on an infant. With infants, it can sometimes be hard to tell what they are taking in because they cannot yet communicate with words. Teaching a baby to speak is fundamentally important for their development.
Talk to them all the time. As you change them, tell them what you are doing, and always speak in a soft, calming voice. Go through each step of everything you do with them. It may seem strange to say, “Now, I am taking off your diaper. I see you’re wet.” or, “Look at this nice big bowl of applesauce! Doesn’t it look yummy?” But babies respond to it, even if it may be hard to see it.
Watch your baby’s responses. When you talk to them, pause, as you would in a normal conversation, and give them time to respond. Sometimes they may smile, babble, or giggle, or sometimes they may just make a face or sit there and watch you. Either way, you are showing them the pattern of communication that they will use later on in life.
Read to them at least once a day. Show them the pictures and point out things in the pictures that go along with the story. Even if you are just reading a baby book of words, point out the picture of the ball, or the cat. They identify with things they can see. They make the connection between the words spoken and the pictures they see. Even taking objects that they are familiar with and speaking the name of the object will enhance their vocabulary, and make important connections between words and the world around them.