One of the best strategies to help your baby learn to speak is to take the time to slow down the conversation. Give your baby time to respond, verbally and nonverbally. Imitate her sounds and expressions along with your own words.
Imagine taking your preverbal baby to the market. You can use parentese to help your baby connect language to her sensory experience of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the market:
• You can pick up an object and describe it simply. “Banana,” you might say, holding it in your hand. “Yellow banana!”
• Imitate any facial expressions and sounds your baby makes in response to your words and the sight of the banana.
• Pay attention and respond to your baby’s gestures and gaze. If she points to the banana, you can point too, saying, “You see the banana!” If another fruit catches her attention, follow her lead.
You can use parentese any time you’re with your baby to narrate, comment, or play games together. Don’t feel silly—you are speaking in a way that’s tailored to how your baby learns.