Parenting Resource

Eleanor, Age 3 Months, Learning Language Skills

May 19, 2010

Watch this video of mom Karen talking with her baby, Ellie. Notice how Karen and Ellie each play an active role in the “conversation”.

To Think About:

How does Ellie communicate with her mom?

How does Karen read and respond to Ellie’s actions or words?

What might Ellie be learning about speaking and listening as she “talks” with her mom?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Ellie does:

  • Communicates that she is hungry with her cries and body language.

  • Shows that she trusts mom to feed her as she waits and watches mom get ready to nurse.

  • Hears new and familiar words.

  • Learns to trust in her ability to communicate when mom responds to her signals.

  • Practices “talking” and listening.

  • Learns that her mom is eager to understand her.

What Karen does:

  • Reads and responds to Ellie’s hunger signals, letting Ellie know she is a good communicator and that her needs are important.

  • Labels Ellie’s feelings which helps calm her. This will also help Ellie understand her feelings as she grows.

  • Talks to Ellie to calm her and help her wait—this lets Ellie know her feelings are important.

  • Gently strokes Ellie’s face and talks gently to her while eating, making feeding a joyful experience.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

  • How does your child communicate her thoughts and feelings?

  • What are ways you encourage your child’s communication skills?

  • Think of a recent interaction you had with your child.

  • How did he or she let you know what he was thinking and feeling?

  • How did you respond? How do you think your response encouraged his or her language skills?

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