The first two years is an incredible time when your baby goes from cooing, to babbling, to saying words! In the Baby Brain Lab, we want to understand how this developmental feat happens. Investigators in the lab are infinitely curious about the infant brain. We want to understand how the infant brain develops and what influences very early development. We believe that by understanding these relationships we can support parents by providing them with effective tools that foster child development. We know from previous research that talking to your baby is one of the best ways to support their language development, and below are some tips for how parents can do this most effectively.
- It’s important to talk to your children often throughout the day. Children learn what they hear the most and they need a lot of repetition to learn new words.
- Young children learn the best in face-to-face interactions. Some easy ways for you to engage in these interactions is to read books to your children and take some time for play every day.
- During playtime, use predictable play routines. This will help your children stay engaged and participating in play. For infants, these play routines may be singing songs, playing with blocks, or playing peekaboo. The repetition may feel boring to you, but you are creating a situation ripe for learning.
- It is also important to know that children learn words for things that interest them. Some children struggle with having their attention redirected, so pay attention to the things your child is looking at and comment on those things. For example, if your child is playing with a book, you could point to the pictures they are looking at and say something about them, rather than pointing across the room and commenting on something else.
- The earlier you engage with your children like this, the better! Development is a chain of cascading events, so acting earlier in that chain will result in the best benefits.
The Baby Brain Lab is recruiting infants for an ongoing study on how caregiver speech supports infant development.
If you are interested in participating or want more information about our ongoing research, visit our website: https://labs.utdallas.edu/babybrainlab/information-for-families/.