• attunement: understanding and smoothly responding to a baby’s nonverbal signals and communications; getting “in tune” or “on the same wavelength” with a baby as you get to know each other and build a special bond
  • being present with a baby: giving the baby your full attention so you can get in tune
  • bonding: the mutual love and trust between a baby and a family member or educator who gets in tune with him
  • en face: (pronounced “on fas”) face-to-face, making eye contact, and attuned (or getting in tune)
  • open-ended questions: questions that require critical thinking, invite opinion or explanation, and have the potential to result in multiple-word answers
  • primary caregiver: the educator in an infant room or mixed-age setting who has primary responsibility for a particular baby, builds an enduring relationship with him and his family, and can help him connect with others in the program
  • responsive interaction: back and forth conversation, play, or interchange in which partners take turns answering each other’s words, sounds, actions, or other communications
  • verbal mapping: putting words to a baby’s actions or telling him what is happening or what will happen

Try It

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In this activity, you’ll apply the strategies and techniques you’ve learned to your program’s learning environment. 

Baby Talk

Download and print the Baby Talk (PDF). Use an interesting baby toy, board book, or household object to try out “baby talk” techniques. Work with a partner if possible to take turns playing the roles of educator and baby, then reflect together.

  • How did the educator use her tone of voice and facial expressions to engage the baby?
  • Did the baby and the educator respond to each other? Did they get in tune? Did the educator use words to build both the baby’s language and their relationship?
  • Did you feel comfortable practicing the strategies with another adult? Would you feel confident using similar strategies with babies if another adult were present? What might help you feel more confident?
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