Advice Column, Parenting, Toddler, Toptots

Why is it important for your baby to be exposed to sound and language?

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  • Category Advice Column, Parenting, Toddler, Toptots

From the moment your baby is born, she starts to learn about her environment. She does this by using her senses. Hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and tasting, gets her senses working and this in turn, gets her brain learning.

Depending on how your baby perceives the information she gets through her senses, she will react accordingly. For example: your baby hears a door slam – she startles or cries; you talk to her gently – she looks at your face. As your baby becomes more and more aware of sound in her environment, so she will learn to discriminate between the different sounds. To begin with, your baby will learn that sound exists and thereafter she will learn how to respond to different sounds. The awareness of these different sounds will encourage the development of auditory skills that are important for language development.

For your baby to develop to her full potential, it is important that from early on, you allow her to be exposed to sounds that are verbal and non-verbal. Once she is aware of verbal and non-verbal sound, she will start to listen for the differences in verbal sounds. She will quickly learn that a harsh, stern voice represents anger and in response she will cry, she will learn that a soft gentle voice represents love and kindness and in return she will coo or smile. Your baby will soon realize that the loud sound of a dog barking is not threatening as she starts to discriminate between the different sounds. 

Thus, it is important to talk and sing to your baby using gestures and facial expressions. It is equally important for her to hear the different sounds made by rattles and environmental sounds. Help her to learn the differences by explaining to her what she has heard and if at all possible, by showing her what made the sound. Before long, your baby will start to talk in her own language through cooing and babbling. This is the start of language development. Studies have shown babies that are constantly spoken to, have better language skills than babies that hear very little verbal sound

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