Developing communication skills in infants

Infants are tuned into the human face and will gaze intently at their mothers face soon after birth. From the very first social encounter an infant is tuned into their care-givers and is learning to communicate with them. It is vitally important that from the very start of the infants life that parents and infant learn to communicate and interpret one another. A positive start will reap rewards, both in the early years and in the future. 

Interacting with, and providing stimulating environments for, young children helps to put in place the building blocks for their growth and development. Early communication is crucial to speech and language development as well as establishing a bond between carer and baby.

Research shows that:

  • during the first three years, 75% of brain growth is completed
  • two year olds who are read to often and engage in activities like painting and singing have better language development and problem solving skills

Children whose parents talk to them frequently have better language skills than those whose parents seldom talk to them: at 20 months babies of talkative parents knew 131 more words than infants of less talkative parents, while at 24 months the difference was 295.

You may also be interested in

  • External Resource

    Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA)

    This charity offers information and support to children with cleft lips and palates. It also provides information and resources for health professionals.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    I Can website

    To support children with speech and language difficulties.

    • When was this published? 3/17/2011
  • External Resource

    Literacy Trust

    The National Literacy Trust campaigns to reduce the number of illiterate adults in the UK.

    • When was this published? 9/26/2010
  • External Resource

    National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries

    The national body for toy and leisure libraries in the UK.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    Talk to your baby

    This presentation looks at language and communication with children, and how speech and language therapy can help to improve a child's quality of life.

  • External Resource

    Words together

    A cartoon-based resource with the key messages for parents to support speech and language development, once speech starts. Developed by Gretel McEwan, Lynn Jones & Foundrymedia