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Communicating with your baby

  • 0-1 Years
  • Child development and growing up
  • Speech, language and communication
Two women with two babies

Babies can communicate from the moment they are born. As soon as they arrive, your baby is learning about speech, language and communication. When communicate with your baby, you are helping them learn to communicate. It's also important for you to understand how your baby is trying to communicate with you.

Talking to your baby

It’s important to talk to your baby from their first day! Spend time with your baby and let them watch your face. Use your face by exaggerate your facial expressions. You can also vary voice by changing your pitch. These will help keep your baby interested.

Babies have very limited ways to communicate with you. Make sure your child knows you have understood their attempts to communicate with you by responding when they:

    • cry
    • point
    • shout
    • make sounds

Let your baby see that making sounds are fun by talking to your baby in lots of different situations. Smiling a lot as you talk will also encourage them to make sounds of their own.

Often early attempts at words by babies go unnoticed. This is because they don’t sound like the words they’re intended to be. Try to be aware of any attempt to say a word and give your baby encouragement. For example, if your child points at a cat and says “ta” you can say “Yes, it’s a cat!” in an excited manner.

For more tips on how to talk to your baby, visit the BBC’s Tiny Happy People page.

Encouraging your baby to notice things

It’s important to encourage your baby to pay attention to their surroundings. There are a variety of ways you can do this.

  • Encouraging your child to notice when someone appears or disappears like “Where’s daddy?”
  • Pointing to things and talking about them when you go places like “Wow, that’s a big tree!”
  • Saying your child’s name to alert them to new people or things near them. An interesting face or object will encourage them to continue to look and learn.
  • Talking to your child with simple language and repeating yourself a lot. You can do this whilst playing or sharing activities with them like blowing bubbles.
woman playing peek a boo with a child


Good eye contact can be important when socialising. You can encourage eye contact by holding objects your child is interested in at eye level. This encourages them to look at your face. For example, if your child wants you to blow bubbles – hold the pot at your eye level to help them look at you.

There are many different games and activities you can do with your child to encourage them to make eye contact such as:

  • playing peek-a-boo or peep-bo games
  • holding squeaky toys held near your face
  • playing with puppets near your face, you can use the puppets to sing nursery rhymes and songs
  • singing nursery rhymes face-to-face and pause on occasion to encourage your child to look at you

Do not force your child to look at you. Some children find eye contact uncomfortable.

Show your baby new sounds and music

Encourage your baby to listen to lots of different sounds. You can do this by playing with different noise-making things like rattles, drums or musical toys. Check to see if your baby will turn their head to look at them. If you baby isn't looking, you can encourage your baby to look by slowly bringing the noise-making things closer to them.

Your baby will also be more interested in what you are interested in. Make a show of being interested in the sound or object too. Dancing along to music or a musical toy will encourage your child to dance to the rhythm too.

Mum and dad smiling sitting on the sofa together with the mum cuddling her smiling baby on her lap

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Still have concerns?

If you have concerns about your child’s language development you may want to discuss this with your health visitor if your child is under 5 years old.

They may have helpful suggestions to improve your child’s understanding.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm (excluding bank holidays).

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