In November, I visited one of the Barnardos Projects, to talk to parents of young children about the importance of talking and reading to babies and toddlers, which is a topic I am very passionate about.
At first, talking to a baby who is not talking back might seem strange to an adult, but as much research has shown over the years, babies are paying attention to the speech of adults, and to the facial expression and the tone used. Babies soon become responsive to language, to gesture, and to any form of communication, so it is important to engage with them, too look at them in the eyes, and to play with them using words to name objects and to describe the world around them. Reading is an excellent activity for parents and children to bond, and it gives parents the opportunity to use words that they would not otherwise use in their daily conversations. Books can also be used for role play, and this can work very well as a strategy to encourage the bilingual child to use the home language in a fun way. So, do not wait, start reading to your child today!
If you are curious about how children learn language, watch THIS great talk by Prof. Patricia Kuhl.
Dr Francesca La Morgia