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Talk, listen and respond

Top tip

Talk, listen and respond

What to do with this activity?


Talk naturally to your baby about what you are doing and what's happening around you. When feeding, dressing and bathing your baby there's lots you can talk about. Your baby gets used to the routine, and repetition is good for learning to talk. 


When you are talking to your baby, pause to give them a chance to talk back to you. Nod your head and smile to let them know you are listening to them.


It is important you respond to your baby, especially if they have made little noises back to you. You can add to what your child says.

For example if your child says “baba”, you could say “you want your bottle?”. When your child begins to use words, you can add another word. For example if they say "miaow" or “cat”, you say “nice cat”.

  • Why am I doing this?

    Talking is one of the most important skills your child will learn. It seems to happen naturally, but in fact you have a very important role to play. Your baby will learn to talk by hearing other people talk. The more you talk with your baby and respond to their noises and babbles, the more you help them learn to communicate. This will help them in every aspect of their life. 

  • How can I do more?

    Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetitive language make it easier for babies to learn language skills. Babies love songs and rhymes, especially hearing the sound of your voice. This is a great way to help your child to talk and listen. Rhymes with actions explain what words mean - "pour me out" in "I'm a little teapot". You can also create sound effects when you are singing songs and saying rhymes. Use your hands to clap, your fingers to click and your mouth to make playful sounds and whistles.

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