What every parent needs to know to get their baby talking

"Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child's Language Skills from Birth to Age Four" by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake is available now wherever books are sold.
“Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child’s Language Skills from Birth to Age Four” by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake is available now wherever books are sold.

What is the best way to develop your baby’s language skills? It’s simple — you talk to them.

One on one conversations with babies and toddlers have been proven time and time again to help develop their language skills. But as anyone who has stared deep into the eyes of a baby and attempted a conversation with them knows — some guidance on what to chat about can be beneficial.
That’s where journalists and authors, Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake, come in. Their new book,  ”Small Talk: Simple Ways to Boost Your Child’s Speech and Language Development from Birth,” is filled with simple and fun activities to encourage and promote engagement with your baby.
In honor of the book’s publication, we asked Blake to share her five best tips on how to get your baby talking. 
1. Say what you see. 
If there’s one technique that will boost your child’s speech, it’s “Say what you see.” With this strategy, which is all about learning through play, you provide gentle running commentary on what your child is doing at that moment. Follow your child’s lead, observe her closely to see what interests her, comment on what’s happening, and pause to allow time for the child to respond. We’re naturally inclined to test, question, and direct our children, so the challenge is trying to stay in the moment, describing what they are doing rather than what you think they should be doing next. This powerful technique helps your child link what she hears to what she is doing.
2. Enjoy small talk time every day.
New research has confirmed how important it is to talk to your baby from birth, even before they can respond. At a bare minimum, you should spend at least ten minutes talking to your child every day. Of course, if you can spend more time talking with your little one, then do! Keep in mind that it’s all about quality, not quantity. Aiming for ten minutes of uninterrupted time is achievable for most parents, and ten minutes can easily turn into more when you’re having fun!
3. Set the scene for small talk time. 
We all know how easy it is to get distracted. Yes, you’re busy, but try to realize it when windows of opportunity arise and then make the most of them. It could be between supper and bedtime, or in the bath. Ensure the TV is off, phones are far away, and all devices are silent – all ears should be on you so your baby only has one source of information to process.
4. Be simple and clear. 
Before a child can begin to speak, he needs to first understand what is being said. Once your baby can understand that something that is fluffy and says, “Woof, woof!” is a dog, he can begin to say the word. So when your toddler is under the age of one, for example, try to communicate in a very simplistic way, using lots of repetition.
5. Give reasons to communicate. 
Mothers often try to pre-empt their baby’s every need, but by doing this your child no longer has a reason to communicate with you. The next time your toddler points furiously at some cookies, pretend you don’t understand and offer her a piece of fruit instead. Chances are that she will make her desire for a cookie very clear!
 
Tracey Blake is a journalist and editor at the Daily Mail where she writes the popular parenting blog Small Talk. She is a mother of two. Nicola Lathey is a children’s speech and language therapist specializing in children under five.  She has one daughter.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Local

Islamic state issues video of beheading of U.S.…

The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday.

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Sports

Belinda Bencic leads crop of young stars serving…

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old Swiss Miss, beat two Top-10 players before suffering a disappointing loss Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and Giants climb

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…