‘Babbling’ is when your child is playing around making different speech sounds e.g. “baba”. The utterances are not yet recognizable words and your child is not intentionally trying to send you a message but, instead, they are having fun producing different sequences of sounds.

How does Babbling Encourage a Child’s First Words?

It’s suggested that, because parents/care takers respond to their child’s babble, this:

-Makes it obvious to the child what communication is about: it is a two-way process with one person speaking, the other person listening and then responding.

-Encourages the child to continue to practice making sounds.

-Helps the child to realize the role of first words

How does Pointing Predicts a Child’s Understanding of Words?

Pointing requires a child to have developed ‘joint attention’ (the ability to share attention with somebody else). ‘Joint attention’ is a key skill for successful communication so pointing gives child lots of practice with this skill. Care takers respond to their child’s pointing by commenting and labeling what they are pointing to. This helps to build their child’s understanding levels.

What Can You Do to Develop Their Children’s’ Babbling and Pointing Skills

Give your child the opportunity to babble/point – pause and wait before you begin to speak to see if your child will babble or point. Sometimes, we can be so keen to talk to our child and give them lots of language models to hear that we do not give them time to communicate with us. Imitate your child’s babble – copy the sounds that they are making. This will make your child feel powerful as they know you are attending to them and it may also encourage them to continue to babble. This will then set up a good two-way interaction with both you and your child taking turns. Respond to your child’s pointing – if your child points to something (with or without vocalizing), follow their point and comment/label it using one or 2 words e.g. “Car” “banana” “mummy’s shoes”


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