Wave Your Arms When You Talk to Your Baby
Point, and clap, and gesture, and do the hand actions to intsy-bitsy spider. According to researchers in Chicago, when you do, you’ll be helping your child develop language skills.
Parents who gesture with meaning when they are talking to their babies and toddlers boost their child’s language development. Apparently, waving bye-bye as well as saying “goodbye” helps babies learn communication skills.
At 14 months, toddlers who had parents who made more gestures when talking were better communicators, including making meaningful gestures themselves. And amongst the same children at age 4, the ones who made more gestures as toddlers now had bigger vocabularies and better language comprehension skills.
This isn’t baby sign language, beloved craze of the yummy mummy set. It’s natural gestures that go along with everyday talking to your baby. But proponents of baby sign language seem to have one thing right. Babies can make meaningful gestures long before they can speak words. If babies interact with their parents and caregivers using gestures before they talk, they start to learn communication earlier and this seems to give them a head start in learning verbal communication.
So hold your hands wide apart to illustrate “big”, lift your arms over your head for “up”, wiggle your fingers to make caterpillars, or do whatever gestures seem to go naturally with whatever you are talking to your baby about. Have fun, and it seems like you’ll encourage your baby’s language development.