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Babies Need Words Every Day

December 31, 2015

Did you know that your baby was born with the ability to tell the difference between many sounds and languages? By about six months of age, babies can tell similar languages apart. This means, communicating with your baby, in the language most comfortable to you, is essential to their growth and development.

You can surround your baby with words in a number of fun and exciting ways!

Attend a Nashville Public Library story time.

We have some specifically designed story times for our littlest patrons!

Read to your baby every day.

Reading with your baby exposes them to new concepts and words. On average, picture books contain 30 rare words per thousand whereas a typical adult/child conversation typically contains 9 rare words. It’s okay if your baby gets restless while reading; you can finish the book later. The Nashville Public Library also provides a list of suggested titles to read to your baby that will be enjoyable for both of you. This list is available in the library. The Association for Library Service to Children also provides a list of board books you child may enjoy. Most, if not all, of these titles can also be found in the library too!

One author I love is Mary Murphy. You can often find her books as both board books, which are great for babies to use and explore on their own, and picture books, which are perfect for a shared reading experience.

Sing with your baby every day.

Singing helps children hear the different sounds in words since it slows them down. Singing with your baby also helps you bond with them. It doesn’t matter to your child if you don’t think you have a great singing voice; they will love it anyway! At the Southeast Branch Library Babies & Books story time on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., we use a number of fun songs to engage the children. We use songs from artists such as Hap Palmer and Jim Gill. You can check these CDs out at the library!

Talk with your baby every day.

Talking with your baby exposes them to more words every day. The more words you use when talking with your baby, the more words he or she will know! As you go about your day, narrate what you are doing. Use “big” words when explaining different items, topics, and ideas. Examples of words that you could introduce to your child are eggplant, peculiar, or amphibian. Don't be afraid to pull out the Thesaurus to find interesting new words to replace common words either! Use the word phenomenal rather than amazing or the word shatter instead of broke. These may seem advanced for young children, but you are adding to their vocabulary and giving them background knowledge, which will help them become successful readers in the future.

Play with your baby every day.

Play is serious business for children. They learn essential life skills, such as how to work with others, when they play. Playing with your child also allows him or her to put into practice the skills they are learning from you. Like talking, playing with your child also introduces new vocabulary, such as stack, burst, and masterpiece. Words learned through play are essential to a child's development, and you can introduce them to your child in fun, creative ways using play!

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Cassie is a Children's Librarian at Edmondson Pike Branch Library. She can often be found reading books and singing songs, and not just at the library! Her favorite thing to do at the moment is cuddle her baby while they read phenomenal picture books and earn Read to Rise points.