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The importance of talking, singing and pointing with your baby

Research shows that 80% of brain growth happens by age 3. Here are simple tools to give your infant a great start in life!

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Research shows that 80% of brain growth happens by age 3. That's why Guilford Basics provides evidence-based parenting and caregiving practices that can be used in everyday life to benefit young children.

Simple interactions can help with early childhood development. And this morning, we're learning more about talking, singing, and pointing with Gillian Goodman, the lower school director at Greensboro Day School.

Why is it so important to talk to your baby or toddler? What are the benefits?

· 80% of brain growth happens before age 3, so these are critical times in their learning and development. To help with this, there are 5 simple things parents and caregivers can do to help stimulate growth – these are known as the Basics. One of the Basics is Talk, Sing and Point.

· Talk, Sing and Point is how children learn to communicate.

· Babies learn language from the moment they are born, so the more you talk with them, the more words they are hearing and learning.

· Describe what you are doing as you go about your day, what you are doing, what they are doing and seeing.

· It doesn’t matter what language you use.

· Pointing is a key part of this, because it helps your child make the connection between the words you are saying and what you are talking about.

What sort of response should you look for or expect from your child?

· Even before they can speak, babies and toddlers can respond by smiling, cooing, laughing, making other sounds. It’s important that parents, caregivers, brothers and sisters respond back – serve and return conversations.

· When children begin using words, build upon what they say to help grow their vocabulary. Ask them questions to get them thinking.

What role does singing have in helping children learn to communicate?

· Children love the sound and rhythm of music. Children like to sing and babies like to hear music.

· Anything you can say in real words, you can express in a song – make one up as you go about your day or sing your child some of your favorites.

· Children quickly learn songs and so will be able to sing along, helping to build their language skills.

Guilford Basics is being coordinated locally by a dedicated group of nonprofits and community leaders committed to early childhood development, the Basics is part of a broader, national network of communities striving to help all children thrive. You can learn more by visiting their website.