Talk about What Interests Your Baby

How does your baby let you know what is interesting?

  • Babies look at, touch, grasp, listen to and chew on objects they like
  • They try to reach interesting objects, or light beams, or other babies
  • They laugh at unexpected actions and faces
  • They pay attention to what is interesting and new

When you talk or sign about your baby's experiences while they are happening, then your baby will pay attention to you, too.

Here are some examples of talking about what interests your child.  The strategies called "try this" support language development.

Practice Example

We might want to talk about a specific thing with this toddler. But what is she pointing at? Before steering the conversation, make sure you're engaging in what is catching your child's interest and attention.

Imagine that he is pointing at a balloon that a child is holding.  Think about what you could say?

More Practice Examples

Let's practice with more clips of moms, dads and babies. In each of the videos, you will see the "do's" in action. Can you pick them out? Each of the parents does a nice job of commenting on the baby's idea or action. You can practice by observing what the parent said and thinking about how it related to the baby's interest.

 
 

In the movie above, Mom notices that her little girl wants to get the lid off the shape sorter, but it is hard for Signe.  Mom stays with Signe's interest and asks her if she needs help.  She offers her another try and encourages her.  Because Signe is still interested, mom makes the task a little easier for her and offers for her to try again and offers praise when Signe succeeds.  Mom takes cues from Signe's reaching, grabbing, and intense looking.  She is responsive to Signe's interest and she also supports Signe to try a new skill.

Reading Baby's Mood

Part of responding to your baby's interest involves reading her mood. Here the dad responds to Signe's "talking" to the baby.  He encourages her, "Yeah. Tell her how you feel."  He follows up by asking, "Are you happy to have a playmate?"  Dad is responsive to her mood and uses the word happy to describe what she is feeling.  These are effective strategies for encouraging language development.

 
 

Support Baby's Topic of Interest

In the next clip, Mom and Signe are discovering the baby in the crib.  Signe begins to vocalize, and her mom encourages her to talk the baby and say "hi."  Notice how the game plan changes when Signe starts to push the baby away.  Her mom takes this as a signal that Signe wants the baby to lie down, and mom switches to "say good night baby!"  Notice how mom's talk follows Signe's lead at each turn.  When our talk matches what the child is touching, looking at, and is interested in, language is learned more easily.