Why?Talk, Sing, and Point logo -- Two orange overlapping talking bubbles

Babies are learning language from the moment they are born. At first, to a newborn baby, speech is just sound. Then, day by day, they learn that the sounds have meaning. This process depends on how much people talk to them. Every time you talk, sing, or point to what you are talking about, you’re providing clues to the meaning of what you are saying. You are providing important information to their brains about how language works.

As your child develops, talking with them and answering their questions is a way to teach them about the world. By talking with them, you will also get to know the fascinating person they are becoming!

Why?Talk, Sing, and Point logo -- Two orange overlapping talking bubbles

Babies are learning language from the moment they are born. At first, to a newborn baby, speech is just sound. Then, day by day, they learn that the sounds have meaning. This process depends on how much people talk to them. Every time you talk, sing, or point to what you are talking about, you’re providing clues to the meaning of what you are saying. You are providing important information to their brains about how language works.

As your child develops, talking with them and answering their questions is a way to teach them about the world. By talking with them, you will also get to know the fascinating person they are becoming!

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Tips to Talk, Sing, and Point

With Your Infant (0-12 Months Old)

Talk a lot. Talk to your baby from the time they are born during activities like changing, feeding, bathing, and errands. Describe what you are doing.

Use a playful voice. Smile and look into your baby’s eyes. Exaggerate the sounds of words.

Follow their interests. Talk about the things your baby looks at or reaches for. Notice which ways of talking or singing seem to interest them the most.

Go back and forth. When your baby makes a sound, show excitement on your face and in your voice. Respond with words. See how long you can keep the “conversation” going back and forth between the two of you.

Sing. Your baby’s favorite songs might be those that repeat words or have rhyming sounds.

Point to objects. Point to objects and name them—especially the things that seem to interest your baby.

With Your Toddler (12-36 Months Old)

Describe life. Talk about the everyday things you see and do together. Most things

Use your hands. Point to the objects you talk about. Encourage your child to point to objects that you name.

Listen and respond. Show your toddler that you are interested in what they have to say. Respond to their comments and questions.

Expand on what your child says. For example, if they point to a dog and say, “Doggie,” you can reply, “Yes, that is a doggie. It’s brown and soft.”

Ask questions. Get your toddler to think. Ask questions that start with “Who…?” “What…?” or “Why…?” For example, “Why do you think the boy is sad?” Show interest in their answers.

Sing. Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes from your childhood, from books, or make up new ones. Your toddler may especially enjoy the ones with rhyming sounds or hand motions. Try singing the same song whenever it’s time for a special activity like bath time.

Use any language. Speak in whatever language you are most comfortable. All languages help children’s development. It’s great if your child grows up speaking more than one language!