Your baby is a social animal and is dependent on your reactions to his efforts at language. You can reinforce your baby’s speech in a variety of ways by capturing your child’s attention and engaging him in the process of learning.

Here are nine ways you can help encourage your baby’s speech development:

  1. Play games such as peekaboo or patty cake. I used to sing to my grandchildren, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Activity along with word can help to advance language.
  2. Give your child items and identify them with energy. For example, say with great enthusiasm: “Here’s your spoon! Here’s your applesauce!” By attaching action with words and emotion, you help your child create associations in his brain, and this can help advance his speech. Point to the light, and say, “Here’s the light.” By pointing with your finger, you’re connecting motion to language.
  3. The key to teaching and enhancing language is to talk, talk, talk… trying to be as physical as possible when talking. Attaching emotion to language enhances linguistic connections.
  4. Be interactive. If you’re feeding your child, have a two-way conversation by asking questions. For example, “We’re having applesauce, do you like applesauce?” The synapses are connecting as you make associations. When your child’s activities are interactive, you encourage him to think about what you’re saying. This is the learning process. Questions such as, “Do you want to play? Do you want to eat? Do you want to take a bath?” will encourage him to think. Speaking to your child in complicated language can raise his IQ approximately 20 points.
  5. Remember to identify body parts. For example, “This is your nose. These are your feet. This is your mouth.” Then ask your child, “Where is your nose? Where are your feet? Where is your mouth?” Elevating your voice with emotion, while doing, makes learning exciting and therefore, captures your child’s attention.
  6. Sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, read stories, and have your child tell you a story. Play with things like a jack-in-the-box, a top, or a ball, identifying each item while showing your child how it works. For example, the jack-in-the-box pops open, the top spins, the ball bounces.
  7. Take pictures and show your child what he looks like. Let him look at himself in the mirror and ask, “Who is that in the mirror?” Then identify your child by asking, “Is that you?” This is one way to create an associative mass that enhances learning.
  8. Categorize things. Put all the stuffed animals together. Put all the bath toys together. Put all the pots and pans together. Then you can ask your child to identify them. “Where are all the stuffed animals? Where are the bath toys? Where are all the pots and pans?” This is how he connects and expands his knowledge, and uses his brain like an orchestra.
  9. The final thing I like to do is to play baroque music, 24/7, on an iPod in the background. This is because baroque music puts the brain in an alpha state, which is similar to meditation. Therefore, it throws more blood to the prefrontal cortex and helps your child process information better, helps him hold images longer and helps him and use his brain more effectively. Baroque music, especially in the largo movement, is syncopated to your child’s heartbeat, so it puts him in a calm and relaxed state. Therefore, he has a better chance to reach his full potential.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.