Five Ways to Become Your Baby’s First Teacher
By Hearing First Team October 6, 2015
Check out five tips that can help parents become their baby’s first teacher for learning listening and spoken language.
You’re hired! You’ve got the job! You didn’t have to get a special degree to become a parent to your baby, and you don’t have to have one to be your baby’s first and best teacher.
In fact, if you love talking, singing, and reading to your baby who is deaf or hard of hearing, then you’re already on a great path to teaching them to listen and talk.
As you attend weekly intervention sessions with a qualified listening and spoken language (LSL) interventionist, you’ll learn new strategies and techniques that will help you focus on your baby’s LSL goals.
Science tells us that the relationship and quality interactions you have with your baby every day in the early years matters the most to grow your baby’s brain for listening, speaking, reading, problem solving, and being social with friends.
Here are five ways you could become your baby’s first LSL teacher:
- Make sure your baby wears their hearing device(s) during all waking hours. Your baby has 7-10 hours per 24-hour period to listen and learn from your interactions. Keep their hearing device(s) on so that your baby will hear as much talking, singing, and reading as their hearing friends.
- Attend all LSL intervention sessions with your baby. If you have to miss one, ask another family member or caregiver to attend. The best possible outcomes happen when you and other caregivers are highly involved in early intervention, where you will receive guidance and coaching from a LSL early interventionist.
- During LSL sessions, take a turn and practice using the strategies so you can repeat them confidently at home. All new skills require some practice. If you focus on your baby’s listening needs and LSL goals while in the intervention sessions, you’ll be able to provide the best listening environment and rich language experiences possible to help them learn to listen and talk.
- In between sessions, use the strategies and techniques you learned during daily routines with your baby at home and out in the community. As you learn the strategies, build them into routines such as meal time, bathing, dressing, diaper changing, car riding, and reading together. As you focus on the specific strategies recommended by your LSL interventionist, you’ll become a better observer of your baby’s responses and learn what to do to increase their listening and talking skills.
- Make sure all family members know about your baby’s hearing devices and understand your baby’s LSL goals. You can’t be present with your baby every hour of every day. This means that your baby’s other caregivers will need to know how to place the hearing devices on the ears, change the batteries, and do a listening check. They’ll also need to understand and know how to use the strategies to help make listening easier for your child. In this way, wherever your baby goes and whomever your baby is with, their caregivers will also be their LSL teachers.
You’re already well equipped for the job of teaching your baby listening and spoken language. By focusing on these five practices, you’re giving your baby the opportunity to grow their brain and meet their LSL goals to become a great conversationalist and a healthy reader.
Becoming Your Baby's First Teacher
There are many things that you'll do to be your baby's first teacher:
- Make sure your baby wears their hearing devices all waking hours.
- Attend all LSL intervention sessions with your baby or ask another family member or caregiver to attend.
- During the session, take a turn and practice using the strategies so you can use them confidently at home.
- In between sessions, use the strategies and techniques in daily routines with your baby at home and in the community.
- Make sure all family members know about your baby's hearing devices and understand your baby's goals.