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Babies learn language from the words they hear around them and the interactions they have with their parents and other adults every day. So you can encourage your baby to say their first words by talking to them lots! Point out and name things your baby seems interested in or can see around them. Babies need to hear words repeated in different contexts before they’ll understand and use the word so don’t worry about saying the same thing over and over again.

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Tips for helping your baby learn to talk

Tip #1: Talk to your baby as much as possible

Talk to your baby about what you’re doing in a tuneful voice, keeping your language simple. Talk about what you see and what you’re doing throughout the day, such as going to the shops or for a walk. It doesn’t really matter what you say! Our page on helping your baby feel connected has more ideas.

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Tip #2: Look at your baby as you talk

If you can, get down to your baby’s level so they can see your face as you’re talking.

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Tip #3: Read a story

It’s never too early to start reading with your little one. They love the sound of your voice and cuddling up for some special time with you. Why not try reading one of your books from the Bookbug bags?

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Tip #4: Share a song or rhyme

Sharing songs and rhymes is a lovely way to interact with your baby. The free Bookbug app and the Bookbug Song and Rhyme Library has lots of ideas to get you started.

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Tip #5: Set aside some quiet time

Try and have a special time each day to play and interact with your baby without any distractions. Turn off the TV or other background noise so your baby can tune into your voice.

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Tip #6: Play peek-a-boo

Mother playing peekaboo with her baby

Babies love games like ‘peek-a-boo’ and it teaches them important skills like taking turns, paying attention and listening.

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Tip #7: Give them time

Notice ways that your baby is communicating with you and give them time to get their message across. Communicating is hard work and they may need time to process everything and rest.

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Tip #8: Play the imitation game

Respond positively to any attempts your baby makes to communicate. Smile, nod and repeat the sounds your baby makes back to them.

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Tip #9: Name and point to things you can both see

This could be their toys or things they like or are interested in, such as animals or vehicles.

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Tip #10: Only use a dummy for sleeping times

If your baby uses a dummy, try and use this for sleeping times only. 

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Tip #11: Limit screen time

Try to limit the amount of time your baby spends looking at a screen. The more time they have interacting with you or someone else, the better. And try and put your phone away when you’re chatting and playing with your baby so you can focus all your attention on them – and set a good example for them as they grow up.

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