The Let’s Talk® initiative focuses on the need for parents to talk to their babies to help them grow and develop. Communicating with your little ones – even before they can talk or understand – is important to their development. Research shows that foundations of lifelong health are built in early childhood. Talking and reading with your children can help improve their brain development, school readiness and overall learning capacity. According to the American Journal of Pediatrics, early environmental influences affect learning capacities, lifelong physical and mental health and adult productivity. That means you play a huge role in shaping your child’s future! And we’re here to help.
Why is Let’s Talk important?
Let’s Talk is a way to help children early so they develop the skills needed to be ready for kindergarten, to succeed in school, and finally, to lead a successful, fulfilling life. Currently, 25 percent of kindergartners at Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools need intensive help in meeting educational goals. We’re hoping to help you help your child before kindergarten and improve their chances for success.
How does the program work?
Parkview Family Birthing Centers nurses in Allen County received special training and will give new moms packages with resources while they are still in the hospital. Each package includes:
- a baby wash cloth, which is meant to serve as a reminder for you to talk to your baby during bath time
- a black and white board book, which will help you get into the habit of reading to your child
- educational guides on talking to your baby
- information about local services
You are then encouraged to sign up for an additional package, from United Way and PNC Bank, which will be mailed to you when your baby is three months old. The package will include a bib, refrigerator magnet, board book and a list of physical and developmental milestones for your baby.
You can also sign up to receive weekly text message tips on how to interact with their children, as well as invitations to fun, free, family-friendly events.
Why is it important for me
to talk to my baby?
Your voice soothes your baby.
Soon after birth, your baby will turn his head toward the sound of your voice. He is ready to pay attention to you.
This is how your baby learns to talk.
Your baby will imitate the sounds you make. You can have fun imitating the sound she makes, too!
That is how your toddler learns lots of new words.
Your toddler repeats the words he hears. Knowing lots of words helps him tell you what he needs and wants.
That is how your preschool child learns all about the world she lives in.
Words represent things and ideas. The more words your child understands, the more she knows.
Talking and listening prepares your child to learn how to read and write.
If your child knows the words and understands what they mean, he will find it easier to learn to read and write.
It’s important to talk to your child as he grows up, too. Here are some ideas to get your conversations started!
While dressing your child...
Talk about the clothes, socks and shoes your child is going to wear. Chat about what will happen today or what happened yesterday.
Give your child measuring spoons, plastic bowls and pans; let her tell you what she is doing with these items. Talk about what you are doing.
At meal time…
Enjoy this time together by talking. Share what you did today. Encourage your child to talk about his day. Share stories or jokes you heard today.
At bath time…
Talk about how the water feels and about the bath toys. Identify different parts of her body. Sing a song or say a rhyme.
Tell stories: about your childhood, about your family, about where you grew up. Share memories of things you have done together.
While going somewhere…
Describe and have your child describe what he sees. Play “I Spy With My Little Eyes.” Count cars.
At the Laundromat…
Identify items of clothing. Ask your child to help you find certain things you need. Have her sort pairs of socks.
Let’s Talk has been made possible, thanks to a partnership with the United Way of Allen County and PNC Bank.
Let’s Talk® Initiative developed by The Agenda for Children, Cambridge, MA