Your Baby and Toddler

Your child's brain is growing every day!

Talking, singing, playing, writing, and reading together are ways to provide stimulating experiences that ensure your baby's brain will build connections for lifelong learning.

Talk

Babies and toddlers learn language by listening to their parents and others talk. They love to hear the sound of your voice and watch your face as you talk.

  • Playfully repeat your baby's babbling sounds or make new sounds while smiling at her. 
  • Wait and see what sounds she makes next and respond to her. Seeing your pleasure makes her excited to babble more.
  • Take your toddler's hand and place it on an object while saying its name.
  • Point out pictures in board books and name what you see.
  • Talk to your child about what you are doing throughout your day.
  • Talk about things your toddler can help with, such as putting away toys or wiping the kitchen table.
  • Read to your baby or toddler often for short periods of time. It's okay if she is moving around while you read.

Sing

Singing slows down language so children can hear the smaller parts of words. Music even builds brain connections that help with mathematical reasoning!

  • Sing lullabies while holding your child. He loves being close to you while you sing.
  • Sing the stories or rhymes in books.
  • Repeat songs and add actions, such as clapping, waving, or pointing.
  • Sing along with children's music.
  • Make up your own songs!

Play

Read from board books every day as part of a bedtime routine. Read for a few minutes at different times throughout the day. 

Babies and toddlers learn about language and their environment through play. Play also strengthens the motor skills and eye-hand coordination necessary for learning how to write.

  • Say nursery rhymes with playful actions while holding your baby close to you.
  • Have fun with fingerplays like Itsy-Bitsy Spider. They help build fine motor skills while children learn about rhymes.
  • Play the game "Follow the Leader".
  • Encourage your toddler to scribble on paper with crayons. Print her name on the drawing and hang it up together.
  • Read from board books every day as part of a bedtime routine. Read for a few minutes at different times throughout the day

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a program of the Association for Library Service to Children and Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association. Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a registered trademark and is used with permission.