To empathize with the baby, to build a lasting and stable relationship and to strengthen the child-parent bond, it is essential to talk to newborns from the first days of life and possibly from intrauterine life.
Talking to newborns is not always a spontaneous action, but it is stimulating and beneficial for the child.
The first mother-baby contact is sensory; it is such since the gestation and prevalent throughout the language development phase. In fact, the senses are the first reference to the child and a large part of his expressive capacity is manifested through crying, smiles and grimaces.
Despite the “silences” of the newborn, the words of the parents and the mother’s voice have played a fundamental role since the first days of life.
3 reasons why talk to newborns is important
The mother’s voice is a known and reassuring sound, or the baby recognizes the maternal voice. This is true even if the listening perspective changes because the child, after birth, hears the mother’s voice clearly and without filters, while in the belly he heard it from intent and filtered through the gestational sac and the amniotic fluid.
In this sense, by listening to the maternal voice the child recovers a familiar sound capable of restoring comfort and security. These same sensations are also valid with respect to the voice of the father, if he has spoken to the mother’s belly during the nine months.
The mother’s word goes along with the needs, looks after new experiences and gives protection in the same way as a caress. Therefore, even in the face of a new experience, the child accompanied by the maternal sound (that is the mother’s words) will find a reassuring and stable foothold.
Furthermore, talking to newborns prepares for verbal communication, instructs in sound management and educates the word instrument.
There are times when the baby’s predisposition to listening is greater. It is then that talking to newborns is more fruitful and even easier. What are these moments?
The mother’s voice can be a relaxing accompaniment during breastfeeding, at the time of the bath (if lived with predisposition and serenity), in the phase immediately preceding sleep (if faced without stress).
The situations just described represent three moments of emotional “quiet” of the newborn; in these conditions (obviously if experienced without anxiety), the child can be particularly receptive to stimuli and therefore can benefit from the words of the mother in several aspects:
- The logical intuitive, intended as a verbal and cerebral stimulus;
- The affective one, intended as support for the parent-child relationship;
- The exploratory one, intended as an input to communication with the external world.
In verbal communication with the newborn, it is important that the voice is always supported by the gaze. The practical advice given to mothers (but also to fathers) is to look into the child’s eyes so that the visual relationship (which represents a form of sensorial language) supports and supports the words, giving them even more emotional value.
It is good to talk to newborns with an enveloping, warm and reassuring tone. The right tone promotes a sense of security with many benefits for self-esteem
Newborns do not decode the full meaning of words but perceive their emotional and emotional value, the tone of the voice is a first manifestation tool – expression of the emotions hidden in words.
A calm, positive and enveloping tone is synonymous with safety and encourages the discovery of the world and interaction.
Whoever smiles a newborn while talking to him is already creating a communicative bridge, or is interacting and at the same time allowing the baby to find courage and trust in the word?
Smiles, giggles and cries represent forms of response that must be positively received and stimulated while trying to talk to newborns.
Adults should never prefer silence when they are building a relationship with a new born. Even if the child does not understand the meaning of the words, talk to them, simply explain what happens or tell their feelings, they represent tools of empathy and emotional means with a powerful emotional charge.
Children who grow up in silent homes may have a poor lexical capacity, some difficulties in interacting with others, limits in verbal expression, and problems with shyness and even may be characterized by greater closure towards the outside world.